Employment Laws: Lady Gaga isn’t exempt, neither are you

By Adam Robinson,
September 18, 2013

Some employers seem to think that employment laws are merely guidelines, not laws that actually need to be followed. Of course all of you reading this blog know otherwise, but a friendly reminder never hurt anyone. 

Yesterday, Suzanne Lucas (aka Evil HR Lady) wrote an article discussing the suit filed against Lady Gaga for disobeying employment law. Filed by her former assistant, Jennifer O’Neill, the suit claims that because O’Neill is a non-exempt employee, she is owed a significant amount of overtime pay. As Lucas points out, O’Neill wasn’t working all day, every day, but she was on call 24/7. So thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Gaga owes O’Neill time-and-a-half for 16 hours each day of the week. While we don’t know how many weeks this time frame includes, if the judge rules in favor of O’Neill, she’ll walk away with much more than her $75,000 salary. 

So what does this mean for you? Don’t try to be like Lady Gaga. Don’t ride around in a giant egg, don’t wear dresses made of meat, and most definitely do not neglect your employees. You hired them for a reason, so don’t risk losing them (and finding yourself the subject of a lawsuit) because you ignored a few laws.

Take it from Lucas, “The default pay structure for all your employees should be hourly with overtime, unless you can confidently say the person qualifies for an exemption. When in doubt, hire an expert to help you evaluate. You may think it’s saving you money, but in the long run, your employee may take you to court.”

So you’re not breaking any employment laws, but are you making any of these five common hiring mistakes?


Employee Engagement, Background Checks

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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