Hireology Blog - Insights for better hiring & HR


Employment Laws: Lady Gaga isn't exempt, neither are you

Posted by Erin Borgerson on September 18, 2013

Some employers seem to think that employment laws are merely guidelines, not laws that actually need to be followed. Of course all of you reading this blog know otherwise, but a friendly reminder never hurt anyone. 

employment lawYesterday, Suzanne Lucas (aka Evil HR Lady) wrote an article discussing the suit filed against Lady Gaga for disobeying employment law. Filed by her former assistant, Jennifer O'Neill, the suit claims that because O'Neill is a non-exempt employee, she is owed a significant amount of overtime pay. As Lucas points out, O'Neill wasn't working all day, every day, but she was on call 24/7. So thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Gaga owes O'Neill time-and-a-half for 16 hours each day of the week. While we don't know how many weeks this time frame includes, if the judge rules in favor of O'Neill, she'll walk away with much more than her $75,000 salary. 

So what does this mean for you? Don't try to be like Lady Gaga. Don't ride around in a giant egg, don't wear dresses made of meat, and most definitely do not neglect your employees. You hired them for a reason, so don't risk losing them (and finding yourself the subject of a lawsuit) because you ignored a few laws.

Take it from Lucas, "The default pay structure for all your employees should be hourly with overtime, unless you can confidently say the person qualifies for an exemption. When in doubt, hire an expert to help you evaluate. You may think it's saving you money, but in the long run, your employee may take you to court."

So you're not breaking any employment laws, but are you making any of these five common hiring mistakes?


Employee Engagement, Background Checks

Erin Borgerson

About the Author

Erin is the Director of Marketing, Crisis Controller and Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) who joined the Hireology team in April of 2012. As a certified Inbound Marketer, Erin manages Hireology's marketing department, the Hireology Blog, and media relations. She is also a co-leader of the Chicago Hubspot User Group which brings together Hubspot users from around the Chicagoland area. Erin set off to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. In her spare time she can be found shaking it in a Zumba class, reading a bestseller, or drinking a craft beer on her Wrigleyville porch.