Lady Gaga Sued By Ex-Assistant and BFF for Overtime Pay

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 11, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Lady Gaga's former personal assistant -- as well as former roommate and BFF -- is suing the singer for unpaid overtime.

Jennifer O'Neill, a former roommate and friend of the singer, worked for Lady Gaga for over a year as her assistant -- but allegedly had to wait on her 24 hours a day without getting a dime of overtime.

A judge recently ruled that O'Neill's case can proceed to trial because it's possible that she's entitled to overtime compensation.

Creative Professionals

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees who are not "exempt" must receive overtime pay for any time worked beyond forty hours in any workweek.

However, creative professionals who make more than $455 per week, or $23,660 a year are actually exempt from overtime requirements.

An employee is a "creative professional" when his or her primary duties involve invention, originality, imagination, or talent in a field of creative or artistic endeavor.

In this case, O'Neill made $50,000, well-over the requisite amount, but she would likely not be considered exempt as a creative professional.

Though she worked in the music industry and rubbed shoulders with Lady Gaga, O'Neill mainly performed uncreative logistical tasks such as handling the singer's communications, making food arrangements, scheduling the day's events, and carrying out other non-artistic tasks, according to The Associated Press.

Administrative Employees

The FLSA also exempts bona fide administrative employees from overtime pay.

To qualify, the employee must primarily perform office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer.

More importantly, the employee's primary duty must include independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

Though a closer call, O'Neill probably wouldn't meet the administrative exemption either.

Ranging from prepping showers and handling Lady Gaga's luggage -- usually 20 bags of strange swag -- to swapping out DVDs for the singer in the middle of the night, O'Neill's responsibilities probably wouldn't count as "matters of significance."

Unless O'Neill was considered an exempt employee, Lady Gaga may soon be taken to task by her friend-turned-frienemy and have to fork over unpaid overtime wages.

How's that for a bad romance...

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