Celebrities Tapped for Labor Law Violations
Los Angeles, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Not even celebrities are immune from workers’ compensation and labor law woes.
This month the family of Lorena “Patty” Hernandez said they would be filing suit against socialite and former Rob Kardashian spouse, Blac Chyna, for abuse and failure to provide workers’ compensation for Hernandez following her death in May.
Hernandez died following three brain hemorrhages, the first of which occurred in July 2017. Hernandez had worked as Chyna’s house manager and handled Chyna’s clothing line. The last brain hemorrhage, in March, put Hernandez into a coma. After several weeks, Hernandez’s family opted to take her off of life support when she was declared brain dead.
The family told Page Six that although Chyna said she would take care of Hernandez and her three children, she has not done so, outside of a GoFundMe campaign started by Chyna’s ex-husband, Rob Kardashian. Instead, they said, she came to the hospital once after Hernandez’s first incident to tell hospital workers not to discuss Hernandez’s condition with anyone.
Walter Mosley, Blac Chyna’s attorney, said in an interview with WorkersCompensation.com that he had not heard of any lawsuits from the Hernandez family, and referred questions to Chyna’s general counsel Paul Carron. Carron could not be reached for comment by press time.
Chyna isn’t alone in her labor law troubles.
Last week, the US District Court of Eastern New York approved a settlement between Busta Rhymes and his chauffeur, David Jones after Jones alleged Busta Rhymes failed to pay him overtime, verbally and physically abused him and discriminated against him because of his age. Rhymes had asked the court to keep the settlement out of the public record, but the court refused saying that Rhymes’ celebrity status did not give him an exemption to the public records laws.
And over the past few years, several celebrities have found themselves on the defensive after employees have filed for compensation.
Other celebrity work comp run-ins include:
Lady Gaga: Gaga was sued by her employee, Jennifer O’Neill for failure to pay overtime in 2013. O’Neill contends that she was hired for a flat fee of $50,000 which was later increased to $75,000 but that she was never paid overtime for being on call 24 hours a day seven days a week. The case was settled out of court one month before the parties were scheduled to appear before a judge.
Sharon Stone: Stone was sued by her nanny Erlinda Elemen for violating Labor laws and making derogatory comments about Elemen’s ethnicity. Elemen took a position as Stone’s back-up nanny in 2008, but was promoted and started working and traveling with Stone and her family.
Elemen claimed that she worked seven days a week, and was accused by Stone of “stealing,” because she was getting overtime pay. Stone demanded that Elemen pay her back. When Elemen didn’t, Stone allegedly reduced Elemen’s housing and pay benefits, and then the celebrity terminated Elemen’s employment.
“Because abuses in overtime pay are common for household employees, it seems ironic that Ms. Stone initially did the right thing and paid Mrs. Elemen overtime wages and then terminated her for accepting those same wages,” Solomon Gresen, Elemen’s lawyer, said in a statement at the time.
Stone settled with Elemen in 2013 before the case could go to court.
Alanis Morrissette: Morrissette was sued by her nanny, Bianca Cambiero, for failure to pay overtime in 2013.
Cambiero alleged that Morrisette would hold her hostage, requiring her to stay in Morrissette’s baby’s room throughout the night even if he was sleeping. Cambrio said, according to People Magazine that she regularly worked 12 hour shifts three to four times a week, without time for bathroom breaks or meal breaks as required by law. Court records indicate she was hired in 2011 for $25 an hour. When she asked in 2012 why she was not getting paid overtime, Cambrio said in court filings, she was told by Morrissette’s accountant, “We don’t do that.”
The case is still pending.
Mariah Carey: Carey was accused by her former personal assistant Ylser Oliver for failure to pay overtime and other labor law violations in 2014.
According to court records, Oliver worked for Carey from March 2007 to June 2014. Oliver said Carey forced Oliver to work up to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and was not paid overtime. Additionally, she said she was not allowed to take breaks. In 2014, Oliver quit, records show, due to the long hours and lack of overtime. She claimed in the suit to be owed for nearly 4,000 hours of overtime pay.
Tina Fey: In 2014, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board filed a lawsuit against Fey in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleging that the actress was more than a month behind in payments. In fact, according to the suit, Fey did not pay for workers’ compensation coverage from Nov. 20, 2012 through Feb. 2, 2014. The board estimated Fey owed about $73,000 in back payments.