Former Nanny Files FLSA Lawsuit Against Singer, Claiming $100,000 in Unpaid Overtime

A woman who worked as a nanny for a famous singer at her home in New York City filed suit earlier this year for alleged wage law violations. DaCosta v. Carey, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00596, complaint (S.D.N.Y., Jan. 28, 2015). The plaintiff claims that the defendant required her to work 100 or more hours per week without paying overtime. She is asserting claims under the federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights (DWBR), and the New York Labor Law.

The plaintiff worked as a full-time, live-in nanny for the twin children of the defendants, singer Mariah Carey and actor/rapper Nick Cannon. The plaintiff’s duties included caring for the children at the defendants’ New York City home and on Carey’s musical and appearance tours. She accompanied Carey and the children on trips all over the world, she states in her complaint, caring for the children during flights and at other times.

The plaintiff claims that she “spent a significant amount of time responding to [the defendants’] or their agents’ inquiries” regarding the children. DaCosta, complaint at 4. She routinely worked more than 40 hours in a week, and she claims that she often worked more than 100 hours per week, since she was essentially always on call. Carey allegedly called the plaintiff “at hours in the middle of the night” to demand that the plaintiff give her updates or bring her to the children, and she “would not tolerate any delay.” Id. at 5. The plaintiff received pay of $3,000 to $3,600 twice a month, paid by a limited liability company (LLC) of which Carey was a member, and distributed by a management company that reportedly represented Carey. In addition to Carey and Cannon, the complaint names the LLC and the management company as defendants.

The FLSA requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime compensation, generally calculated as time-and-a-half, for time spent working in excess of 40 hours in a week. The New York Labor Law has similar provisions. The DWBR, enacted by the New York Legislature in 2010, provides specific employment protections for domestic service workers, including a requirement for overtime compensation for more than 40 hours of work per week. N.Y. Lab. L. § 170. For domestic workers who reside in their employer’s home, the threshold for overtime pay is 44 hours.

The lawsuit asserts four causes of action:
1. Overtime wage claims under the FLSA;
2. Overtime wage claims under state law, N.Y. Lab. L. § 650 et seq.;
3. Failure to pay minimum wage on days when the plaintiff worked more than 10 hours, 12 N.Y.C.R.R. § 146-1.6; and 4. Failure to provide the plaintiff with notice and wage statements, N.Y. Lab. L. § 190 et seq.

If you need to speak to an employment law attorney in New Jersey or New York about a wage claim or other employment matter, contact the Resnick Law Group online, at 973-781-1204, or at (646) 867-7997.

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Court Rules that Restaurant Franchise Must Pay Employees in Money, Not Pizza, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, September 18, 2014

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