Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is Sharon Stone Paying Workers a Sliver of What is Owed?

Sharon Stone recently was sued by one of her domestic workers over an overtime pay dispute, and the complaint contains allegations that Stone discriminated against her employee, Erlinda Elemen, by making derogatory comments about her accent, the food of her people, and that "Filipino people were stupid."

While discrimination based on national origin, as is alleged in the complaint, is clearly outlawed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, determining overtime liability in the Sphere of Domestic Workers can be a difficult task. Generally, those workers who live on the premises of the employer are not eligible for overtime (but minimum wage rules still apply) whereas those that come and go are eligible for overtime wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime regulations would apply to them. However, there are exceptions that cut both ways, and it is best to consult an FLSA Specialist, such as Stefan Turkheimer, John Hadden, or Jordan Britt to determine whether the FLSA overtime rules apply to a specific job.

Employers such as Stone fall into two categories: The Quick and The Dead. Those that immediately fix the wage and hour problems as soon as they can and pay what they owe to their employees will not have to pay heavy penalties in the form of attorney's fees, but those who refuse can be held responsible for all of the fees of the underpaid worker's attorney. This rule of the FLSA prevents an employee who was wrongfully denied overtime pay from having to pay anything up front to hire an attorney.


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