Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Trevor Noah has pulled out at the last minute from hosting the MAMAs 2016, due to 'a severe upper respiratory infection'

Lady Gaga going to trial in ex-assistant's lawsuit

2013-09-11 10:35
Lady Gaga
New York - 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 on Tuesday.

A jury can decide whether Gaga's demands left Jennifer 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, US District Judge Paul Gardephe said. A trial is set for 4 November.

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 $80m in the first six months of this year.

Lawyers did not immediately comment.

'Every day is a work day for her'

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 e-mail and telephone communications and for handling all her luggage — generally 20 bags — including clothing, accessories, makeup and toiletries.

They were friends

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.

Read more on:    lady gaga  |  lawsuits  |  celebrities
NEXT ON CHANNEL24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Recent News

A prominent member of the academy which awards the Nobel literature prize slammed this year's laureate Bob Dylan as arrogant. Read More »

Jay Z has been nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame next year, which will make him the first ever rapper to receive the honour. Read More »

inside channel 24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.