ED Magedson – Founder
Afterglo Tan Bar9 Isabella Street Toronto, Ontario Canada
Afterglo Tan Bar, Sonia-Lynn Rodrigues My horrible experience as an Aesthetician at Afterglo Tan Bar Toronto Ontario Canada
I accepted a position at Afterglo Tan Bar at 9 Isabella Street in late 2013 and quit 3 short months later, in early 2014. As the only Aesthetician/Skin Care Technician on staff, my job mostly entailed performing facial treatments, but I was also responsible for waxing treatments, and nail treatments when the nail technician was unavailable.
For reasons I will describe below, my time here was the worst I have EVER experienced under any employer, so I have decided to take to the internet to share my story, and hopefully prevent the owner of this business from exploiting any other potential employees.
Before I begin, allow me to introduce the scam artist that runs this operation. Her name is Sonia-Lynn Rodrigues. She advertises herself as a woman of many professions, including interior designer, aesthetician (neither of which she is even remotely educated or certified in), fitness trainer and tan specialist, and she likes to brag about all of the above, despite having very few legitimate credentials to speak of, if any. Her business, Afterglo Tan Bar, was launched 3 years ago, after the previous occupants went out of business and put the commercial space (and the tanning beds occupying it) up for grabs.
When Sonia hired me, she told me she would put together a schedule for me before I started. This never happened, even after I’d been there for 3 months. I got used to coming in as-needed, because I lived nearby and it seemed like the easy solution at the time. While this worked well for the first few weeks, it didn’t take long for Sonia to start telling the girls at the front desk that it was okay to book me with last minute clients without waiting for a confirmation, 6 days out of every week, 10 hours of every day.
As a result, I was soon being called in almost every day just to see one or two clients with very little notice (it’s illegal to ask an employee to come in to work for less than 3 hours, but that doesn’t matter to Sonia), and every time I was unable to confirm a last minute booking or didn’t get the voicemail in time, it would fall solely on me for not being at Sonia’s beck and call. She even went so far as to tell the clients it was my fault and that they should take it up with me when they see me. Had this been the only issue, I would’ve grit my teeth and bore it. Such as it was, however, this was not the case.
If being expected on-call 10 hours/day, 6 days/week with no notice hadn’t been disrespectful enough, Sonia then decided that she would pick and choose which hours to pay me for when it came time for payroll. She put us through mandatory product retail training for 16 hours, then decided she didn’t feel like paying for that time (despite it being against the law to do so). To make matters worse, she then decided she would only pay me for 17.5 of the almost 50 hours I worked that pay period, because she only wanted to pay while I was literally sitting with a client, which meant that my setup time before each client, cleanup time after each client, and sterilization procedures at the end of each shift were apparently considered volunteer work, despite being crucial to the running of her business and a major part of my job.
I should also add that I was never allotted time in my schedule to setup or cleanup between clients. 60 minute facials were literally booked for 60 minutes with no time allotted between appointments to prepare or clean up. Manicure and pedicure times were crunched into an hour for both (30 minutes each), as opposed to the typical 1.25-1.5 hour time frame every other spa in the country allots (and for good reason). The treatment protocol was absolutely horrendous (she tells her staff to wipe hand sanitizer on the clients’ feet before treatments, and to use the huge toenail claws for the fingernails, because she believes it looks more ‘professional’. In 10 years of working in Canada’s top day spas, I have never seen such a horrendous setup in terms of timing and protocol, or witnessed such terrible business practices in a spa.
I decided to bring up the training pay to Sonia before the next cheque was due, in hopes she would see her error and compensate me accordingly for my time. I hadn’t fought for compensation for the additional work hours she decided not to pay me for on the previous cheque, so I didn’t think I was asking too much by requesting to be paid for training, at the very least, as it is my legal right to do so, and Ontario law clearly states that mandatory training time be compensated. I sent her an email outlining my concerns regarding the last-minute bookings and my training pay. When I spoke to her on the phone the day our next cheque was due, she claimed never to have received any such email, but said she had just dropped off the cheques at the salon.
When I called my co-worker to confirm that I could pick my cheque up, I discovered that Sonia had decided to drop everyone’s cheque off except for mine, seemingly as her way of asserting that she was in control, and I wasn’t. Needless to say, I quit the next morning, as I never signed up for volunteer work, and was now having my entire cheque withheld. Having been grossly underpaid in the cheque prior and refused training compensation altogether, I had essentially wasted 3 months to perform charity work at Sonia’s business, as I had nothing but 17.5 hours pay to show for the past 3 months and numerous hours of my life.
Since then, it has been 3 weeks. I have called, emailed and texted Sonia numerous times asking for my final pay that was never dropped off. She has not responded to any of my messages, and has made no attempt whatsoever to pay the earnings she withheld from me out of spite. I filed a claim with the Ministry of Labour last week, so will be reimbursed in due time. However, in the meantime, I have wasted 3 months of my time, have never felt so disrespected in my entire career, and I have absolutely nothing to show for all the work and time I put into Sonia’s business, falling behind on my most basic living expenses as a result. My experience with Sonia and Afterglo Tan Bar was the worst I’ve ever had in this industry, and I truly hope that any Aestheticians planning on joining Sonia’s team will think again, as you will be paid very little for your time, if at all.
This is NOT run as a legitimate business, and Sonia is NOT a legitimate businesswoman. The protocol and treatment times are not thought out or kept to professional spa standards, resulting in rushed treatments with no setup or cleanup time allotted between appointments. Teamwork between the employees is extremely rare, which makes the environment really uncomfortable to work in – co-workers will go behind your back and phone Sonia about every tiny mistake you make in protocol, treatment timing etc, instead of approaching you directly.
Necessary maintenance and cleaning of the spa area is not compensated for at all, and she will cut your pay in half as she sees fit, essentially making you work for $5/hour as she cuts the pay by over 50% after you’ve already invested the hours. Her cheap streak does not only extend to payday, either; The nail files and buffers you’ll be asked to work with are all cut in half to pinch pennies, she does not allow employees any complimentary treatments, and all retail product prices are marked up by an outrageous 50%. To add insult to injury, Sonia also demands that we push 8-12 products at each facial client (yes, you read that correctly!), which comes up to about $800 in products per client, which no sane client will pay.
This means that not only will you be forced into a very awkward position at every appointment trying to oversell products that are not even needed, but also that clients leave feeling exploited and like a sale, as opposed to a valued, relaxed client. Aestheticians beware! I hope this helps at least one person in their quest to find a comfortable, teamwork-oriented environment to work in – Afterglo Tan Bar is not it! Sonia-Lynn Rodrigues has no respect for her team, she runs her operation on fear – reminding employees daily that she’s watching us on the cameras, and harping about every mistake we make, real or perceived. While this location is nicely decorated and may seem tempting on first glance, it is a terribly run business below the surface, with very, very poor business ethics and an impractical spa setup.
Unless you are looking to perform Aesthetics for charity, steer clear of this employer! She will certainly put you to work but has absolutely no intention of compensating you for it when the time comes. Everyone deserves to feel respected and compensated for the services they provide, and the assets they bring to the business and team. In this respect, Sonia-Lynn Rodrigues is the worst employer in Toronto. As Aestheticians, we are always in demand, and our field of expertise continues to thrive despite all obstacles. So, yourself a HUGE favor, and keep looking elsewhere for an employer who will value your experience and skill set, as I would not wish Sonia-Lynn Rodrigues or her shoddy business practices on my worst enemy.
Thanks for your time, and I hope this helps my fellow beauty connoisseurs!!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/03/2014 04:49 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/afterglo-tan-bar/toronto-ontario-m4y1m7/afterglo-tan-bar-sonia-lynn-rodrigues-my-horrible-experience-as-an-aesthetician-at-after-1127777. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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