Lady Gaga will be going to court to hear whether she owes Jennifer O’Neill overtime wages that she reportedly cheated her out of.
Gaga and O’Neill met in 2008 when the performer moved into O’Neill’s apartment building and later became friends and roommates. O’Neill was offered the position of personal assistant, but claimed in her 2011 lawsuit that she was always “on-call” and never had any personal time.
O’Neill worked for the singer for at most two months in 2009, and then 13 months starting February 2010. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe has agreed that O’Neill’s “on-call” time could qualify for overtime compensation.
The assistant was paid $50,000 annually the first time, and then was hired back on for an annual salary of $75,000, and was not given any paid overtime even though Forbes magazine reported that Gaga earned an estimated $80 million in the first half of this year.
As a personal assistant, O’Neill frequently had to sleep in the same hotel bed with Lady Gaga just in case she needed her throughout the night, even stating that one time she was woken up in the middle of the night to replace a DVD the “Applause” singer had gotten bored of. She was also responsible for monitoring all email and telephone communication, and handling luggage – at least 20 bags.
O’Neill was also expected to help during performances, making sure there was “special food” for her wherever she was and scheduling her day so that she had plenty of time to get her hair and make up done, then do vocal warm ups, and went out on stage at the right moment. She then had to help with costume changes and exiting the venue after the show.
“Every day is a work day for her, so every day is a work day for the rest of us,” O’Neill testified. “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.”
Lady Gaga defended herself by saying, “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 hours and then you punch out at the end of the day. This is when I need you, you’re available.”
No lawyers have commented on the case. Lady Gaga is set to appear on November 4.