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Wage Suit Against Lady Gaga is Litigation of Note

Published:  July 2, 2013

The lawsuit brought against Lady Gaga by her former personal assistant (PA) illustrates some of the wage-and-hour law challenges that employers face.

Lady Gaga hired a friend to be her personal assistant at an annual salary of $75,000. After the two had a falling out, Lady Gaga’s former PA filed a lawsuit alleging that she is owed almost $400,000 in unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law. The PA claims she worked 24/7, around the clock. According to the PA, her job duties included reviewing and reconciling credit card statements, ordering meals, heating Lady Gaga’s food, ensuring the promptness of a towel after a shower, serving as a personal alarm clock to keep Lady Gaga on schedule, packing and unpacking Lady Gaga’s 20 bags of luggage, and sleeping in Lady Gaga’s bed with her so that she would be able to attend to all her needs.

Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to overtime unless they fit within specific overtime exemption categories. For a personal assistant, the most likely exemption is the administrative exemption. In order to fit within this exemption, Lady Gaga would have to show that her former PA was paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week, that her primary job duty included performing office or non-manual work, and that she exercised discretion and independent judgment. In this case, the job duties the PA described do not require the requisite level of discretion and independent judgment sufficient to meet the administrative exemption. Therefore, assuming her description of her job duties is accurate, she would be entitled to overtime for the hours she worked over 40 in a workweek. But exactly how many hours of overtime did the PA work? According to the PA, she was not compensated for 7,168 hours. But no one kept track of her hours, which, in the case of a non-exempt employee, is an employer’s responsibility.

Click here to read the full article published by BusinessWest.