Cindy Rueda, Sean Combs’ former lead chef, is suing the famous rapper, actor, and producer for a variety of things including sexual harassment, retaliation, defamation, failure to pay overtime wages, emotional distress, and a hostile work environment. Rueda began working for Combs in January of 2015 under the following conditions; she would work from 9a - midnight(sometimes 2a), 6 days a week, for a flat rate of $150 per day (about $11.50 per hour.) When Combs asked if she wanted to be hired as a full-time employee, she refused due to the unreasonable hours and pay. Occasionally, Rueda was also required to accompany Combs when he traveled to events outside of LA. For these occasions, Rueda was not given additional income.
Here is what we know about the additional allegations:
- Rueda made multiple wage complaints to Stacey Friend, Combs’ estate director. Friend instructed Rueda to keep track of her hours.
- Throughout her employment, Rueda was misclassified as an exempt employee, and not paid for overtime.
- Rueda was required to serve Combs and his guests' food during or immediately after they engaged in sexual activities.
- Rueda was required to serve food to a naked Combs following sexual activity. Combs then asked her if his naked body made her uncomfortable or if she was attracted to it.
- Combs’ naked house guest asked Rueda to look at his body and to admire his genitals.
- Rueda complained, once again, to Stacey Friend about the inappropriate behavior.
- Instead of taking Rueda’s complaints seriously, Rueda believes she was framed for theft and then terminated.
- Iris, the executive housekeeper, told Rueda that she found a watch in Combs’ trash can and if she wanted to take it. Knowing that Combs frequently discards items such as this, Rueda said yes. Days later, Rueda was accused of theft.
- Rueda was told that they would not turn her in for theft as long as she signed a waiver of all rights and claims against Combs. Rueda returned the watch and refused to sign anything because she believed she was set up.
- Upon termination, Rueda was not paid all of her earned wages.
- During her employment, Rueda encountered verbal harassment, obscene language, and demeaning comments, and was repeatedly exposed to unwanted sexual advances and uncomfortable situations.
By suing, Rueda is hoping to recover lost wages as well as non-economic losses including humiliation, pain, and suffering.
What do you think of Rueda's claims? Was she set-up?
*image by Caroline Attwood
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