Former Lady Gaga assistant sues for overtime - Fox 2 News Headlines

Former Lady Gaga assistant sues for overtime

Posted: Updated:
Invision/AP photo Invision/AP photo

By LARRY NEUMEISTER

NEW YORK (AP) — A onetime roommate and friend of Lady Gaga who claimed after serving as her personal assistant for more than a year that the pop singer cheated her out of overtime wages can tell her story to a jury in November, a judge said Tuesday.

A jury can decide whether Gaga's demands left O'Neill any personal time or whether she was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as she claimed in her 2011 lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said. A trial is set for Nov. 4.

O'Neill worked for the singer for one to two months in early 2009 and for 13 months beginning in February 2010, and the judge said both sides agree she was expected to be available as needed throughout each hour of each day.

Gardephe ruled that O'Neill's "on-call" time potentially qualifies for overtime compensation.

O'Neill said she was paid at a flat rate of about $50,000 annually when she was first hired and $75,000 annually the second time by the pop singer, who is estimated in a list published by Forbes magazine to have earned $80 million in the first six months of this year.

Lawyers did not immediately comment.

In his written decision, Gardephe noted that lawyers said Lady Gaga, listed in the litigation under her birth name — Stefani Germanotta — and O'Neill frequently slept in the same bed because O'Neill never had her own hotel room while on tour and was required to address Lady Gaga's needs throughout the night.

O'Neill had testified in a deposition that if Lady Gaga was watching a DVD in the middle of the night and grew tired of it, she woke her up to take out and replace the DVD.

"Every day is a work day for her, so every day is a work day for the rest of us," she said. "There is no, 'We're going to stay in, we're going to sleep.' There is no, 'Let's put on sweatpants and go out to the movies and be girlfriends.' It doesn't work like that," O'Neill said.

In her deposition testimony, Lady Gaga had testified: "You don't get a schedule. You don't get a schedule that is like you punch in and you can play ... at your desk for four hours and then you punch out at the end of the day. This is when I need you, you're available."

O'Neill had testified she was responsible for sometimes monitoring the singer's email and telephone communications and for handling all her luggage — generally 20 bags — including clothing, accessories, makeup and toiletries.

She was also responsible for making sure that "special food" was available at every location and for making sure the singer arrived at performances on time and had ample time for hairstyling, makeup and voice warm-ups and that she appeared on stage on time, O'Neill said.

She said she assisted with costume changes during performances and was responsible afterwards for arranging ice packs, tea and a shower, along with dinner and an exit from the venue.

The judge noted that the women met after Lady Gaga moved into O'Neill's apartment building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan before 2008, when they became roommates and friends. O'Neill was offered a position as her personal assistant because they were friends and she had experience in the music industry, court papers said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Ultimate lemonade stand in Flatiron District

    Ultimate lemonade stand in Flatiron District

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:39 AM EDT2014-08-20 13:39:26 GMT
    When 826 NYC, a nonprofit organization that fosters creative writing skills, asked children ages 9-12 to dream up the ultimate lemonade stand, the responses were huge. The winning project of  The Great Lemonation Imagination Collaboration was turned into a real lemonade stand complete with free lemonade in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The organization's members were also required to help run the stand that went up at Broadway and 23rd Street on Wednesday.
    When 826 NYC, a nonprofit organization that fosters creative writing skills, asked children ages 9-12 to dream up the ultimate lemonade stand, the responses were huge. The winning project of  The Great Lemonation Imagination Collaboration was turned into a real lemonade stand complete with free lemonade in Manhattan's Flatiron District. The organization's members were also required to help run the stand that went up at Broadway and 23rd Street on Wednesday.
  • Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Times Square characters: we don't work for free

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 9:02 AM EDT2014-08-20 13:02:47 GMT
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
    Times Square characters want to be taken seriously and want their tips. The mostly immigrant workers are now called the Association of Artists United for a Smile and are fighting to protect their jobs, in light of a recent crackdown. Jorge Duran says he stands around for hours, sweating inside a costume, and says it is annoying and unfair if he poses for a good picture and gets nothing.
  • Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Tyga calls for Empire State Building to go gold

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:42 AM EDT2014-08-20 12:42:31 GMT
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
    The push to go gold for pediatric cancer has spread to the hip hop world. Popular rapper Tyga is joining those calling for the Empire State Building to light up for a good cause.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices