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Attorney Harmeet Dhillon. (Photo: Center for American Liberty)

California Salon Owners and Barbers Sue Gov. Newsom Over the Right to Earn a Living

New federal lawsuit challenges Gov. Newsom’s ‘vague’ lockdown orders, threat of professional license revocations

By Katy Grimes, May 12, 2020 4:15 pm

The Right to Earn a Living… “the most precious liberty man possesses.”  ~Supreme Court Justice William Douglas

 

The Center for American Liberty and Dhillon Law Group are representing the Professional Beauty Federation of California, salon owner Rosie Ibarra and other salon owners, in their new lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Public Health Officer Sonia Angel, and 12 members of the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, for violating the civil rights, right to due process, and the constitutional right to earn a living.

As California Globe reported, for nearly two months, California officials have threatened criminal prosecution for violations of the Governor’s Order. “Defendants have effectively taken away Plaintiffs’ lawful right to engage in professional state-licensed activities,” the lawsuit says.

“This legal challenge seeks to curtail the Defendants’ overly broad and arbitrary orders and restore Plaintiffs’ rights to conduct their professions with appropriate and specific safeguards against the COVID-19 illness,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiffs represent licensees who have been devastated by Defendants’ arbitrary and unclear categories (e.g. “essential” versus “non-essential”) that allow some businesses to operate while others are required to close.”

The PBFC represents more than 500,000 licensed professionals throughout the state, all of whom are currently prohibited from making a living under the governor’s current statewide shutdown orders.

Tuesday, Attorney Harmeet Dhillon with the Dhillon Law Group, held a Zoom press conference announcing the lawsuit, filed that morning in the United States District Court, Central District of California.

Why file a lawsuit?

“More than two months have passed since Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in California, and throughout that time, he and others in his administration have vaguely and arbitrarily classified licensed barbering and cosmetology professionals as “non-essential,” criminalizing the jobs these 500,000 plus state-licensed professionals perform in every community, large and small, throughout California. Last week, Defendants began threatening to revoke Plaintiffs’ licenses, which authorize them to safely serve the public’s personal grooming and beauty needs, and embody their ability to earn a living,” the lawsuit explains succinctly.

“Many of California’s beauty professionals are small business owners that employ 1099 contractors and aren’t eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.”

“The points behind the scope of the case is to restore liberty, and the rights of these professionals,” Attorney Dhillon said. She addressed the close relationship between female stylists and clients. She said she has even heard from physicians who told her that hair stylists play a vital line role in identifying clients’ medical issues as well, such as spotting skin cancers and melanomas on the head. “It’s not just a vanity roll, but one of mental health and physical health.”

Fred Jones, attorney for the the Professional Beauty Federation of California, said salons, barbers, stylists and nail salons were arbitrarily put into the Stage 3 reopening category by Gov. Newsom. “We all agreed to flatten the contagion curve,” Jones said. “But the governor changed the goal posts in the middle of the game.”

Jones said there are 53,000 licensed salons and barber shops in California desperate to go back to work – in their safe, sanitary and clean salons. “Not to go house to house, kitchen to kitchen.” Jones said these licensed professional stylists and barbers have more than 1,000 hours of training on health and safety protocols, unlike many of the other industries, currently allowed to operate.

Rosie Ibarra, a first generation Cuban immigrant, said she and her husband have owned salons for 22 years. They have three children, which led Rosie to open a sub-suites company while allows stylists to rent out a space from her, while still operating as an independent contractor. “For the governor to extend this indefinite lockdown is a punch in the gut,” Ibarra said. “For me and my style professionals. Everyone in the state is affected by this.”

“We hope everything they’ve worked so hard for doesn’t go down the shampoo bowl drain. I hope the governor hears us,” she added.

While the governor’s statewide shutdown Order allows persons to continue working only if they are deemed “essential workers” in an “essential business,” Dhillon and Jones say the governor arbitrarily chose and excluded businesses.

“The ‘New Normal’ — the governor makes up the rules from his podium,” Dhillon said. “It’s irrational and cruel.”

Dhillon’s lawsuit outlines the civil rights violations:

“The governors’ arbitrary orders will continue to violate Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights, inflicting irreversible financial and personal harm to more than 500,000 licensed beauty professionals in California. They have offered no exceptions, and identified no future date for reinstatement of these lawful professions. In doing so, Defendants overstep the authority entrusted to them by the California Constitution, and violate Plaintiffs’ rights to due process. Plaintiffs hereby request that this Court provide narrow but appropriate relief to ensure the Governor has adequate latitude to address the COVID emergency, while also respecting Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and the State of California.”

Notably, the day after Dhillon announced she would be filing a lawsuit against the governor and State of CA on behalf of the salon owners and barbers, Gov. Newsom in his daily press conference claimed that the breakout of the coronavirus in California started in a nail salon. He was not challenged at the time since there are no Capitol reporters allowed at his press conferences, but since then, many have questioned his claim. “He seems to be trying to fabricate a narrative to stoke fear in the community,” Dhillon said, noting it is unconstitutional and cruel.

Attorney Jones said the governor’s claim was “slanderous. Almost 90% of our nail salons are Vietnamese owned and operated. What has he done to that community with that comment?” Jones asked. “We think it was utterly irresponsible and slanderous.”

Jones noted that he appealed to the governor’s cabinet-level officials, but got nowhere. “Some governors allow appeals processes – but not this governor,” Dhillon said. “That doesn’t exist in California.”

“The onus is on government when government takes away your rights, they must explain why,” Dhillon said. “They (stylists and barbers) are being put into bankruptcy by this uncertainty.”

“This unilateral reordering of the economy is occurring without any legislative or electoral oversight,” Dhillon said. “It also exceeds the widely-recognized limitations on government authority under the United States Constitution and California law.”

“The governor needs to trust our state licensees,” Jones said. “We’re ready to meet our responsibilities and and return to operations to earn a living.”

“Many can’t pick up their and move business like Elon Musk is threatening to do,” Dhillon said. “It’s about liberty and he Constitution… that’s why I am doing this.”

UPDATE: Attorney Harmeet Dhillon replied to the many requests to join the lawsuit: “Because we represent the industry trade association, the relief we are seeking benefits the entire industry. We are not taking on new clients for this case and salon owners/stylists and barbers do not need to join it to benefit.”

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91 thoughts on “California Salon Owners and Barbers Sue Gov. Newsom Over the Right to Earn a Living

  1. It’s very sad and unnecessary that this should be happening.
    Who would have ever thought we’d see salons and barbers having to scratch and claw just to make a living and that they would be prevented from doing so because of the personality problems of a governor who should be working on their behalf instead of fighting against them.
    Very best of luck to Harmeet Dhillon for great success and to all of the essential professionals and small business owners involved in this lawsuit.

    1. I honestly think that there is an underlying desire to beat people down by not allowing them access to self care and grooming. Hate to say this but its becoming more and more obvious.

    2. I agree.. I had a salon with independent contractors
      They are not addressing on the main news .that they don’t get unemployment, oh but they worry
      About the illegal immigrants.& more so the lazy people who they are supplying there addition .
      Because that’s
      Who will vote for them with the free hand outs
      Making them be dependent. I think this needs to not be a political shit show, and take care of the tax payers.
      Fox covers real news telling the

      1. 1099 workers are not usually eligible for UI benefits; however, due to the current circumstances, they are eligible. I believe the claimant is required to present required tax filing documentation for qualification to receive benefits.

    3. I really don’t know why anybody would live in a democratic state I mean people these people are so screwed up I hope you’re learning that now with the rest of us have known forever Vote Republican their states are ran well and open

    1. Check out gofundme.com search “time to sue Newsom” and there is more details and contacts there about the lawsuit.

    2. She said they are not taking clients because you all are already covered under the association. This was at the very end of the article.

  2. Its not right and I’m relieved to see people are fighting back. The guy that cuts my hair runs a single chair salon. He cannot work and needs to feed his family. Best of luck to the Plaintiffs!

    1. First of all it not just women but many male stylists .Second if it’s California then it is 1600 hours of education for licensing.Third ,do you realize how many people we speak with and how much power we have politically when it’s time to vote.Our clients love us ,respect us and listen to us…

        1. I’m ready to just open and say screw it.. I’ve got 43 years under my belt which was hard earned and to have someone that doesn’t even know me throw me under the bus like I don’t matter?? WTH IS HAPPENING TO OUR WORLD??!!

      1. So HAPPY TO HEAR THIS!

        WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE OUR RIGHTS!!! 🙏🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼🇺🇸🙂🙏🏼❣

  3. Quite odd. A small group of whatever who never ran a business or missed a Federal or State holiday off are ruining millions and millions of private industry businesses.

  4. This Governor only kiss the people with money and power (i.e. Elon Musk…). He have no mercy for the minority people and not afraid to step on them. I am very sure that 500,000 cosmetology licensed will remember this and WILL NOT vote for Newsom if he run for Governor or anything anymore. Thank you Mr. Harmeet Dhillon and Professional Beauty Federation of California, salon owner Rosie Ibarra and other salon owners for doing this. We are all behind and fully supporting you. Best of luck, they needed a good lesson.

    1. Now people are seeing how Democrats and leftists behave when they get in positions of authority. Do what they say our we’ll put you in jail, and we’ll let you know when you can earn a living. We conservatives have been saying this for years.
      Hope all of you remember this next election. Good luck in your lawsuit.

      1. Everything what the demoliberals touch is ruined. The casinos would be reopen for people the lost job, business is down and the rest of them spent last $100 in casino.
        They will play touch bottoms left shit everywhere. And this idiot talk about safety at the salons. How a joke.
        He is good and perfect ruin CA. That is sure.

    2. Let’s hope you are correct! How quickly people forget sometimes, this independent contractor Hairstylist will not!

    1. I also want to be a part of this as an owner operator of a salon & not able to earn an income for fear of being jailed or fined

  5. Please no body cuts that governor hair ok.
    It’s outrageous “vietnamita nail salon accused the breakout of covid-19 LMO
    HOPE Dhillon firm wins this Case. Calf hadn’t provided a safety work plan for that beauty industry? He’d better act fast or he may see a 2nd Vietnam war on his own soil! Not necessarily to go that far governor!

  6. First of all it isn’t just women but many male stylists.Second if it’s a California license it is 1600 hours .Third ,Do you know how many people 500,000 hairstylists speak with every day and the power we have politically in regards to voting.We influence our clients who love us ,respect us and listen to us…

  7. We also learn in Cosmetology school besides the 1600+ hours of disinfection, sanitation and client safety is that if a stylist, staff member or client is sick (cold or flu) we can get fined. So the CA state board has recommended safety first for everyone. If we are dealing with a “silent” form of virus, what excuses us from opening up for services? Besides we all know that state board only has like 12 people making their way to thoroughly check every hair salon in the state. This is really based on the honor system. Some take it seriously while a lot of people don’t. I suppose it’s at your own risk which then dilutes the integrity of our license. To think we should be considered in the same round as surgical doctors, is a far reach. Now, if this is all in the name of getting us on a universal tracking device, well that’s another story!

  8. CA Governor just want to kill all the salons & middle class.I been in CA for 34 years, I’m a Nails Salon’s owner for 22 years, supporting 3 of my children’s in College , closed the salons for 2 months pushing me a deep financial problem

    1. I would also like to be part of the lawsuit . Is there anywhere where we can protest northern or southern ca.

  9. The people are with you. God bless you for standing up for freedom, the US Constitution & dignity of people who are entitled to make a living.

  10. I own two big barbershops and I employ 24 barbers that have been out of work for over 2 months now . We were shut down by our city code enforcement and they threatened to press criminal charges against us and possible jail time if we didn’t close our shops . Not once has the governor even said the word “ barbershop “ he just has us sitting near in the dark . Every barbershop and salon in California needs to be envolved with this class action lawsuit . How do we get envolved ?

  11. We’re Vietnamese people,We’re all working so hard and pay are tax, doing are part, helping to build up America ,Please don’t race us and be fair ,I’m interested in becoming a part of this lawsuit , thank you Mr Harmeet Dhillon and professional beauty federation of California , salon owner Rosei Ibarra and other salon owners for doing this, I’m will be behind supporting you, best of luck , thank you 🙏 again

    1. Are you sure vietnamese pay taxes? More like only pay half of the taxes on what you guy claim you guy make. We all know beauty industry get most of the cash and do not ever disclose it. I am just surprise that they haven’t rade all the salon yet. That day will come soon. Good luck with the lawsuit!

  12. Hello. I will like to be part lf it. My business Rent is expensive 5,000 a month with a closed business. Im gonna have to Give up if I dont find Help. I dont see nothing yet from sba. Help please.

  13. Please people , wake up , does she really speak for you ?? She’s representing a group that has big corporations sitting on the board . Do your research . She doesn’t speak for myself or many other hairdressers at all. There are many of us who are embarrassed that people are assuming we want this done . She’s not representing me .

  14. Made a success of my life only to be torn down by our crazy CA government officials. I would like to be included in this lawsuit. They have cause total financial ruin.

  15. The words that were said by the Governor about the nail salons are irresponsible and out of touch. Does he not know that he is ruining the lives and small business of many Californians out there? What are the fact and data to back up such a claim that has the power to effect so many people’s lives? He thinks that no one is listening, and does not have the voice to fight back? He’s wrong. As a salon and small business owner myself, I stand with the people whose lives he has changed because of his rash and irresponsible statements. We want everyone to be safe, but this is just cruel and unprofessional. If you want to state such a claim, have the facts to back it up!

  16. How can i join this lawsuit? Nail salon Owner /operator for 13 yrs. My clients foot health is highly compromised & I am an essential worker!

  17. I need a haircut too! I’d rather pay a Barber then shave my head, doesn’t look to good as a Real Estate Agent.

    Here is the link to the lawsuit page by the Beauty Federation: https://www.beautyfederation.org/hot-topics

    I hope all my clients will not need my services to sell their houses because they can’t afford them any longer, it’s not the business I enjoy doing.
    If you are in Riverside Ca, our Company management is helping anyone that needs to sell their house by giving them up to 70% off our Listing services or the cash back.

  18. I am an Electrologist I work alone on my clients. I need to get back to work. My clients are calling me when they can come in. But I rent a space and the salon is closed. So I’m not able to work or get my equipment to work on anyone. I need to work

  19. I have been an Esthetician for 20 years and a business owner for the last 14 years. We have the highest degree of sanitation besides the medical and dental field . Our checklist of sanitation guidelines are pages long and are governed by the VERY board that is overseen by the state of California ! With his comments about the beauty field being “ high risk “, does that mean we have NEVER been safe for the last 50 years? I am appalled by Newsom’s lack of insight and furthermore , disappointed by the Board of Barbering and Cosmotology that we have NOT received ANY updates on new requirements for reopening !
    We should NEVER have shut down without first applying safety guards and measures that would keep the public safe during this pandemic . If face shields , masks , gloves , alcohol, and medical grade disinfectants are good enough for the medical field , it should be good enough for us !!! We are all intelligent people that can follow guidelines … we can “ suit up” and go to work !!! No one wants to run the risk of making their clients sick …OF ALL INDUSTRIES DEEMED ESSENTIAL, WE ARE THE CLEANEST AND HAVE THE MOST GUIDLINES!!! Just curious why there are construction workers building hotels and casinos in my town … is that essential???

    1. I support every word you said!!! I’ve been a stylist for 30 years and I totally agree with every word you said!!!!

    2. It seems it is time for a planned group opening of salons and barber shops..
      1) Owners could organize around their area ex: by county. Set a scheduled day 1 week out. Each owner could then contact clients and schedule appointments that would fit into social distancing orders.
      2) The owners should do everything possible to comply with state orders such as: wear masks, take temperature of clients as they enter, have hand sanitizer available etc.
      3) I think that clients should be fore warned that they will be participating in an organized protest for a businesses right to survive. I never go the salon, but I surely would for such a special day like that.
      TOGETHER WE STAND!!!!

  20. Attorney Harmeet Dhillon replied to the many requests to join the lawsuit: “Because we represent the industry trade association, the relief we are seeking benefits the entire industry. We are not taking on new clients for this case and salon owners/stylists and barbers do not need to join it to benefit.”

  21. I own nail spa and that’s our family only income,have two kids, yor two months under lockdown and nobody cares how we supposed to survive and pay the bills,pay mortgage,also pay for business rent,its seems like someone wants to completely destroy us

  22. I WOULD LIKE TO JOIN IN THE LAWSUIT I STILL HAVE TO PAY THE RENT WHERE MY SALON IS LOCATED THIS NEEDS TO END. PUT US BACK TO WORK

    1. If you’re going to benefit from this lawsuit you better get a copy to verify what you’re going to get. Or you can get your own attorney as individuals or as class action suit to fight for your individual rights and insure you get what you want. You all got the court and docket number so you can look up the lawsuit, right? Probably good idea to get each others contact info and get an attorney.

  23. I just read this and wanted to share with all:
    UPDATE: Attorney Harmeet Dhillon replied to the many requests to join the lawsuit: “Because we represent the industry trade association, the relief we are seeking benefits the entire industry. We are not taking on new clients for this case and salon owners/stylists and barbers do not need to join it to benefit.”

  24. I am loving that we are all agreeing with one another. Has anyone heard of the new regulations that will be in place when we are able to go back to work? I’ve heard from other stylists in different states and wow!!! some of their regs are not reasonable at all like you can only have a client in your chair for 60 minutes another state said that they are NOT allowed to blow dry hair anymore, and yet another said that they are required to change their clothes or smock between EACH client. This is just ridiculous but I can totally see our state going to the extreme and that just irritates me to no end!!!
    Way to go Attorney Harmeet Dhillon and thank you. Many prayers going your way form all of us

  25. I will do anything to do as much damage to governor Gavin Newsom as possible! He cares more about his agenda, than taking care of the people of this Great State.
    I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California for over 54 years, I’ve never seen anything with this much abuse happened to the state!

  26. It seems it is time for a planned group opening of salons and barber shops..
    1) Owners could organize around their area ex: by county. Set a scheduled day 1 week out. Each owner could then contact clients and schedule appointments that would fit into social distancing orders.
    2) The owners should do everything possible to comply with state orders such as: wear masks, take temperature of clients as they enter, have hand sanitizer available etc.
    3) I think that clients should be fore warned that they will be participating in an organized protest for a businesses right to survive. I never go the salon, but I surely would for such a special day like that.
    TOGETHER WE STAND!!!!

  27. Stop whinging. If you want to work, work. If you want to sue, sue. Don’t do the social media thing, just proves you’re only a moaner.

  28. If you’re going to benefit from this lawsuit you better get a copy to verify what you’re going to get. Or you can get your own attorney as individuals or as class action suit to fight for your individual rights and insure you get what you want. You all got the court and docket number so you can look up the lawsuit, right? Probably good idea to get each others contact info and get an attorney.

  29. I hope this works and I’d love to be added to the lawsuit as well. I’ve been a hairstylist for 15 years and opened my own salon in a small town 4 years ago. My salon is small and just me and one esthetician. This shit down has been devastating mentally and financially.

    1. Hi Jamie – here is the update we included in the article:
      Attorney Harmeet Dhillon replied to the many requests to join the lawsuit: “Because we represent the industry trade association, the relief we are seeking benefits the entire industry. We are not taking on new clients for this case and salon owners/stylists and barbers do not need to join it to benefit.”

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