Lady Gaga Sued for Overtime Pay
Pop sensation, Lady Gaga is facing a lawsuit brought by her previous assistant, Jenifer O’Neill, who claims that the songstress owes her $393,000 in unpaid overtime, plus additional damages. Hired on as an assistant in 2009, O’Neill was contracted at $75,000 per year. She claims that Lady Gaga required her to be at her “beck and call” and that she deserves overtime for all of the additional hours she put into the job during the two years she was in employ.
According to Lady Gaga’s 2012 deposition, the singer contends that O’Neill “deserves every dollar of her $75,000 that we agreed to. But she does not deserve a penny more.” She is also quoted as saying that O’Neill is a “[expletive deleted] hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn’t earn” and that she “knew exactly what she was getting into, and she knew there was no overtime, and I never paid her overtime the first time I hired her, so why would she be paid overtime the second time?”
While Lady Gaga may not think O’Neill deserves the overtime pay, the case may well find in the assistant’s favor. As stated on the website of the US Department of Labor, “An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay.”
O’Neill claims that she was expected to help Lady Gaga with tasks all day, every day, regardless of the time, her availability, and the number of hours previously worked that week. Given the nature of the O’Neill’s claims and Lady Gaga’s rebuttal that much of O’Neill’s time was spent in a friend capacity, it may be difficult to prove whether the assistant was actually working around the clock, or simply spending time with the singer. Essentially, making that determination may decide the case.