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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
Have you been sexually harassed by your employer? Call Shirazi Law Firm for a consultation: 310-400-5891. Join us on the following networks for the latest legal news:
Atlanta rapper, TI, may be best known for his mainstream hits such as "You Can Have Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life" featuring Rihanna, but did you know that he was also the co-owner of a restaurant in downtown Atlanta called Scales 925? The restaurant, which opened in March 2015, serves Southern cuisine in an upscale atmosphere.
Both TI, whose birth name is Clifford Harris Jr., and his business partner Charles Hughes, are being sued by twelve former employees for unpaid wages. The employees claim that both Harris (TI) and Hughes have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Though the plaintiffs are accusing Hughes specifically, Harris (TI) is also equally liable since they are co-owners.
Hughes is being accused of the following nefarious pay practices:
- Connected his personal bank account to the restaurant’s and then deposited payroll money into his own account. When employees tried to cash their paychecks, they bounced.
- Employees claimed that they were required to work off the clock before being allowed to go home.
- Employees claimed that they weren’t paid for overtime.
- The restaurants time and billing software, ALOHA, would delete hours once an employee racked up 40 hours a week.
- Money from the employees’ paychecks was used to pay busboys, though the busboys claim they never received these wages.
- Money from the employees’ paychecks was used to pay Georgia payroll taxes, though these taxes were never paid.
- Money from the employees’ paychecks was used to pay for “broken glasses”, even if there weren’t any broken glasses.
- Hughes programmed ALOHAin such as way that caused employees to claim $35 in tips, even when employees did not.
- Employees allege that they were denied their last paychecks upon leaving the company.
When plaintiffs complained to Hughes about the wage discrepancies, they were either ignored, their hours were cut, or they were fired out of retaliation. The total amount of back pay that the restaurant owes the plaintiffs is more than $75,000.The plaintiffs are seeking back pay, liquidated damages, nominal damages, compensatory damages, attorney fee and punitive damages.
What do you think of these accusations of wage theft?
Does your employer owe you wages? Call Shirazi Law Firm for a consultation: 310-400-5891. Join us on the following networks for the latest legal news:
When Alyssa first joined the Buffalo Bills cheerleader team she had no idea that being humiliated was part of the job description. Known as the Buffalo Jills, the cheerleaders were not only required to do jumping jacks in order to see if flesh jiggled, but they were forced to attend events held for sponsors where they were given tips for doing back flips in bikinis.
If being humiliated regularly wasn't bad enough, the Buffalo Jills had to attend hundreds of hours of work and practices without ever receiving a dime of compensation. Each girl even had to fork over $650 of her own money to pay for her uniforms. For a team that makes over $200 million a year, it's no surprise that Alyssa and two other Jills sued the Bills back in May for violating state minimum wage laws.
The cheerleaders only received a few small tips and occasional appearance fees. This amounted for some of the cheerleaders to between $0.13 and $o.50 cents an hour.
The idea that cheering on a professional team is a "privilege" not a "right" is slowly changing. You might recall another case that the Raiderettes brought against the Oakland Raiders. The team recently settled a lawsuit with the cheerleaders and agreeing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.
Tell us what you think. Do you think these girls should be paid for their time spent cheering? Or do you think the honor of getting to cheer in front of thousands of fans is payment enough?
*image by Angelina Earley, Flickr
Denied wages by your employer? Call Shirazi Law Firm for a consultation: 310-400-5891. Join us on the following networks for the latest legal news:
Daniel Boulud, a Michelin-starred chef with a 6 restaurant empire, has not only prepared meals for important figures such as President Obama and Showtime CEO Matt Blank, but he is currently being sued by employees for back wages and stealing their tips.
This lawsuit comes as quite a surprise especially when you consider how much one of the chef's multi-course dinners cost (up to $220 a person.) According to the multimillion-dollar lawsuit, however, employees say the chef not only stole gratuities earned from waiting tables at private events, but he also made them do non-tipped side work such as cleaning bathrooms and scrubbing floors. By law employees must be paid at least the minimum wage ($9 an hour in California) to complete non-tipped side work (versus the $5 an hour that Boulud's employees were paid.)
This isn't the only time Boulud has been in hot water for stiffing waiters as of late. Within the last few months, he reached a settlement with 88 other employees who were suing him for similar grievances. Boulud's restaurants may be some of the best in the world but does he really deserve the title of "Chef of the Year" (given to him by the Culinary Institute of America) under such circumstances?
What do you think of these rich celebrity restauranteurs with $200+ per person dinners not paying minimum wages and stealing their employees tips?
*image by Daniel Krieger, Flickr
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Alanis Morissette’s former nanny, Bianca Cambeiro, has sued the singer and her husband Mario 'Souleye' Treadway, claiming that she was not paid overtime and forced to work 12-hour shifts without overtime pay or a break.
Cambeiro alleges in the lawsuit that she was hired as a night nanny for the couple's son. Her shift was from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. for $25 per hour. Cambeiro states that, during her employment, Morissette and her husband prohibited Cambeiro from leaving the baby’s room during her 12-hour shift, even if the baby was sleeping. As such, she claims she could neither eat nor take a break during her shift. Additionally, Cambeiro claims that Morissette and her husband failed to pay her statutory required overtime wages, in violation of California law.
Cambeiro seeks unpaid wages and other damages. Cambeiro also says that she suffered emotional distress--which are not recoverable for wage and hour violations.
Morissette is one of many celebrities who have been sued by for overtime by their:
What do you think of these celebrity overtime claims? Do you think these are true or made up celebrity shake downs?
*UPDATE: This article was updated on December 12th, 2014.
Can you believe the NFL's Oakland Raiders pay their cheerleaders only $1,250 per year?! Well they do. In fact, the Raiders actually pay many cheerleaders less if you take into account their unreimbursed expenses and fines they give to their cheerleaders.
That is why the Raiders are now being sued for failure to pay minimum wages and overtime and illegally requiring cheerleaders to pay expenses out of their $125-per-game salaries. The Raiderettes allege they do 2-3 rehearsals per week, performances at 10 charity events each season, and participate in the team's annual swimsuit calendar photo shoot. Along with the games themselves, they allege that this makes their wages below $5 per hour. California's minimum wage is $8 per hour.
The suit also alleges that the Raiders:
1) impose arbitrary fines on the cheerleaders for such offenses as bringing the wrong pom-poms to practice;
2) illegally withhold the Raiderettes' salaries until the end of each season, in violation of California law requiring pay at least twice a month; and
3) illegally prohibits the cheerleaders from discussing their wages with one another.
A Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader has since filed a similar lawsuit.
What do you think of Raiderettes getting paid so little while the players make millions?
UPDATE: According to this article, the NFL settled a claim with the Raiderettes for $1.25 million. This settlement will cover back pay for over 90 cheerleaders between the years of 2010 and 2013.
Garth Brooks' former business partner is suing him for unpaid wages and bonuses. Lisa Sanderson is seeking $425,000 from the famed country music artist whom she worked with for almost 20 years. Sanderson is a television and movie producer who claims she was hired by Brooks to start his acting career. Sanderson claims she is owed wages for getting Brooks movie roles which he declined. Brooks allegedly declined roles in Saving Private Ryan and Twister because he "wanted to be the star" and was not willing to take a backseat to Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, or a tornado.
Sanderson also alleges Brooks turned down other deals she arranged for him including Fox and Disney. Sanderson's suit states that she never got the 50 percent of producers fees she was promised.
What do you think of a business partner--as opposed to an employee--suing for unpaid "wages"?
Please post your comments at: www.ShiraziLawFirm.com/blog
For a little more juicy unpaid wages/salary misclassified case see my article re Lady Gaga being sued here.
In yet another celebrity lawsuit, Lady Gaga's former personal assistant has sued the pop star for $380,000 of alleged unpaid overtime. Gaga's former personal assistant, Jennifer O'Neill, says she was on-call almost every hour of every day she worked for Gaga. This included being Gaga's "personal alarm clock", fetching tampons, changing DVD's, and doing whatever the eccentric pop star asked for. Gaga's main legal defense is that Ms. O'Neill never worked over 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week if you just add up her tasks individually.
Ms. O'Neill though, claims she was always required to be available and never paid for working over 8 hours in a day. Ms. O'Neill only received her $75,000 a year salary.
During Gaga's deposition she made the following interesting statements:
"Jennifer is a fucking hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn't earn. She thinks she's just like the queen of the universe. And, you know what, she didn't want to be a slave to one, because in my work and what I do, I'm the queen of the universe every day."
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? This whole case is bullsh*t and you know it.
I'm quite wonderful to everybody that works for me, and I am completely aghast to what a disgusting human being that you have become to sue me like this. Because she slept in Egyptian cotton sheets every night, in five-star hotels, on private planes, eating caviar, partying with [photographer] Terry Richardson all night, wearing my clothes, asking [Yves Saint Laurent] to send her free shoes without my permission, using my YSL discount without my permission.
Unfortunately for Lady Gaga, bad performance or misconduct by an employee is not a defense to non-payment of overtime. Neither is treating your employee to the benefits of a lavish lifestyle. Overtime must be paid to all non-exempt employees who work over 8 hours in a day and/or 40 hours in a week (depending on your state). An agreement to be a salaried employee does not override this rule.
What do you think of Gaga's assistant's lawsuit? Should employees have to be paid for every hour they are available to their employer, even if they only work a small portion of that time?
Comment at: http://www.shirazilawfirm.com/lady-gaga-sued-by-personal-assistant-for-unpaid-overtime/