ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New legislation could void what’s known as training reimbursement agreement provisions (TRAP) signed by new hires. Our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige spoke with one woman who was employed at an eyelash extension salon for a short period of time and is now being served a lawsuit to pay up for training she says, she never received.
“Obviously [it] is a burden to us financially, to have to pay this back if we’re forced to, but I’m more concerned for the younger women that are just coming right out of cosmetology,” said Trisha D’Allaird, who has been a licensed cosmetologist and aesthetician in New York since 1999. After the pandemic and healing from a personal illness, D’Allaird was ready to get back into the work field. In May of 2022, she started working at a lash bar, but three and a half months in, she realized it wasn’t what she had hoped for. “It wasn’t a wonderful, professional experience, that I wanted to portray… I was used to running my own booth and being very professional, and it just kind of got worse and worse,” she said.
That’s why D’Allaird decided to leave, but the TRAP contract she signed stated if she left before six months, she’d have to pay $4000 and if she left after six months, she would have to pay $2500. She was served a lawsuit that is also pursuing $1000 for alleged violation of solicitation agreement. Besides the hefty fee, D’Allaird said she received no formal training. “So as a licensed cosmetologist, I was able to perform every service there, had performed 95% of them probably up to that point, and was very aware of all of them. A lot of them were just on-the-job training of how they wanted the task to be done or performed on the clients; just a specific way,” she said.
Craig D’Allaird said in his research, scenarios like this are all too familiar for people who work in the beauty industry or any industry for that matter. “When you read up on these things, they’re not being used to reimburse for training, they’re being used to punish employees for leaving, it’s not to recoup training costs, it’s being used to trap people into jobs or poor working conditions,” he said.
Assemblymember Phil Steck is working on legislation to void these agreements. He said most of the so-called training comes with the territory of a new job. “It was on-the-job learning and you can say that in any business and therefore it creates a very unfair situation for employees. For example, I’ve been a lawyer for a long time. I mean we provide training to our paralegals, but we don’t say ‘you owe us $4000 if you leave to compensate us for the training and provide it’, it’s not right,” explained Steck. The legislation would also include exemptions if employers provide money to the employee to get specific training.