Manicurist sues posh Greenwood Village beauty bar, claiming wage pilfering

Manicurist sues posh Greenwood Village beauty bar, claiming wage pilfering

A nail technician at Ella Bliss Beauty Bar in Greenwood Village has sued her employer claiming the chic salon steals from her and other manicurists by taking their tips, not paying overtime and forcing them to do janitorial work without pay.

Manicurist Lisa Miles on Thursday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver seeking class action status and claiming Ella Bliss Beauty Bar, 8575 E. Arapahoe Road, “systematically stole” employees’ wages.

“It is my belief that the owners of Ella Bliss have a preconceived notion that those of us in the cosmetology industry lack a formal education and are not a viable threat to their unlawful business practices,” Miles said Thursday. “My hope is that this lawsuit will enlighten them to the contrary.”

Miles is seeking her own back wages as well as pay taken from all Ella Bliss technicians.

Salon co-owner Peter Koclanes on Thursday said he could not comment. “We don’t have any knowledge of this lawsuit.”

The website for Ella, which also has locations in Denver and Highlands Ranch, says the beauty bar invokes a party atmosphere with fun, laughter and cocktails: “Our beautiful, distinct & exciting Beauty Bar blurs the line between peace and pampering, luxury and affordability, style and sanctuary. Blissfully unique!”

Wage theft is shorthand for a variety of ways that employers nickel and dime employees out of legally earned wages, according to a news release by Denver attorney Mari Newman, and Towards Justice, a Denver nonprofit that represents “America’s chronically marginalized workforce.”

“In this case, Ella Bliss Beauty Bar forced its service technicians to perform janitorial work without pay, refused to pay overtime, withheld tips, and shorted commissions,” the lawsuit claims.

Wage theft disproportionately victimizes female workers, who often keep quiet about the practice as they struggle to make ends meet, Towards Justice executive director Nina DiSalvo said.

“It is time for businesses to quit financially exploiting women. Oppression of vulnerable workers remains all too common, and this is a particularly audacious case,” Newman said. “I hope this case will not only force Ella Bliss Beauty Bar to follow the law, but also compel all employers in the industry to treat workers with the dignity and respect they

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