Horrific stories of Hollywood stars being horrible employers are nothing new. But not all celebs are horrible bosses; Oprah is said to be beloved by her staff and so is the Bajan billionaire Rihanna. If you are popular in at least 74 countries and obscenely wealthy, it seems easy enough to pay your employees the right wages. Alas, that is not the case with these celebrity bosses who were accused of underpaying their staff.
Tommy Lee’s questionable salary deductions
For those who are under 30, the thing to know about Tommy Lee is that he was the drummer of a band called Motley Crew. He gained fame for that but also for being married to one of the most popular women on the planet, Pamela Anderson. And based on a recent complaint about Lee, he might just become even more popular for being a terrible boss.
Michael Anthony Sullivan, Lee’s former assistant, filed a lawsuit against Lee and Lee’s touring company Mayhem Touring. He cited numerous complaints, including failure to pay overtime compensation, failure to provide accurate itemized wage compensation statements, and failure to maintain accurate payroll wage records, to name a few. Mr. Sullivan also complained about having to be a jack-of-all-trades — a very exhausted jack at that, who had to wear multiple hats, including that of procurer, chauffeur, cook, bodyguard, nanny, and nursemaid, among others.
Chief among Mr. Sullivan’s complaints were the deductions of $1,000 from his salary for rent as a live-in assistant, which continued to be deducted even after he had already moved out of Lee’s house. Mr. Sullivan also claimed that his former boss was deducting amounts from his paycheck for things like cell phone charges for calls made on behalf of Lee. Lee also allegedly launched a smear campaign against Mr. Sullivan, which made it difficult for him to look for other employment opportunities.
It’s unclear to everyone what Lee is up to now, but the fact that his former assistant sued him points that he's still active in the music business, or at least in activities that require assistance. One thing he certainly needs is an attorney, as his former employee sued him for no less than $50,000 plus punitive damages.
Busta Rhymes busted for being a bad boss
Another musician who was allegedly not paying his employee the right wages is the rapper Busta Rhymes (real name Trevor Smith). In 2016, Busta’s former chauffeur David Jones accused Busta of underpaying him of his monthly salary and overtime pay. Mr. Jones, who worked for the rapper from 2014-2016, was promised an annual pay of $100,000 but was only paid around $85,000.
That seems like an easy enough dispute to settle, but underpaying wasn’t Busta’s only misdeed, according to Mr. Jones’ lawsuit. Mr. Jones also accused the hip-hop artist of age discrimination, particularly in instances when Mr. Jones refused to go over the speed limit and/or beat the red light. What could signal one’s youth more than beating the red light and violating speed limits, right?
Mr. Jones also stated that his ex-boss physically assaulted him and eventually fired him for committing the gravest of sins: failing to wash the "chosen automobile of the day".
Busta Rhymes, like his ‘90s contemporary Tommy Lee, isn’t as active in the music scene nowadays. May we suggest to these two fine artists to read up on the Fair Labor Standards Act during their idle time?
Kareer woman Kim Kardashian should be keeping up with labor laws
Kim Kardashian has also been sued by former staff for unpaid salaries and other wage issues. Kim is a savvy businesswoman, so her getting involved in labor disputes isn’t too surprising. But at the same time, Kim — who is one step closer to becoming an attorney — should know better.
In 2021, the multi-hyphenate, three-time divorceé was sued by seven ex-workers of her California mansion’s gardening and maintenance staff. Per the lawsuit, Kim’s team paid them late, denied them overtime pay, and forced them to work without meal breaks. Also, a 16-year-old former worker claimed that he was made to render work hours beyond the maximum allowable hours for an underage summer employee.
In Los Angeles, workplace violations and wage theft are said to be widespread problems. As personal injury attorneys in Washington State, we can’t say that the same applies in the Evergreen State. Here, we deal with workplace issues that tend to involve slip-and-fall injuries and the like. We especially do not deal with cases involving billionaires like Kim Kardashian being accused of underpaying their home staff and interns.
If you get injured while in the line of duty at your workplace in Washington State, consult experienced personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams. Call our Renton, Seattle offices today.