Ms. Classification: Former Lady Gaga Assistant Suing for $380,000 of Unpaid Overtime

Gaga Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

A former assistant to singer Lady Gaga is taking her former employer to court for unpaid overtime after being forced to be “on call” for 24 hours a day.

Gaga paid the worker as if she was exempt from overtime due to “administrative exemptions.”  However, the guidelines for such an exemption are similar to those that the IRS uses to determine if an independent contractor is an employee. There is room for debate. By waiting on the singer’s every need at any time, the former employee suggests there was little ‘independence’ in her job description.  Some background is provided by the law firm of Krukowski & Costello.

The former assistant also alleged she was required to be on-call 24 hours a day, every day, and that she was entitled to be paid for each of those hours. She alleged she had to be responsive to the singer’s slightest need throughout the day and to address random, spontaneous matters throughout the night. Even though she had been paid a “salary” of $75,000 a year, she claimed she was owed roughly $380,000 and an equal amount as “liquidated damages” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Lady Gaga’s entertaining deposition testimony shows several misconceptions about how the wage and hour laws apply. Her reaction to being sued was that the plaintiff was a “rat who is suing me for money she didn’t earn.” The singer testified she was “quite wonderful to everybody that works for me, and I am completely aghast to what a disgusting human being that [her former assistant had] become to sue [me] like this. . . .” Lady Gaga portrayed the former assistant as an ingrate who she had treated to parties with stars and other luxuries.

According to Gaga, the worker should have known what she was getting into when she took the job.

According to the singer, the plaintiff “knew exactly what she was getting into, and she knew there was no overtime” and “she deserves every dollar of her $75,000 that we agreed to. But she does not deserve a penny more.”

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