In a lawsuit filed in federal court last week, a handyman who was employed by Celine Dion and her husband at their home in Florida claims that he (and other employees) didn’t receive overtime pay to which he was entitled under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Keith Sturtevant claims that Ms. Dion cheated him out of pay for several years by classifying him as a “manager” exempt from overtime pay.
Generally speaking, under the FLSA most employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) for all the hours they work in each workweek, and overtime pay of one and a half times their regular rate of pay for each hour they work over 40 in that workweek. The FLSA provides exemptions from these general rules for certain executive or management employees. To qualify for the executive exemption, the employee must (1) be compensated on a salary basis of not less than $455 per week; (2) have a primary duty of managing the enterprise or a recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise; (3) customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees; and (4) have the authority to hire or fire other employees or have their opinion about such matters be given particular weight.
Even though he was paid a salary and had the purported title of “manager,” Mr. Sturtevant claims that he “did not have the power to hire or fire employees.” Therefore, he claims that Ms. Dion “improperly and illegally designated him as an exempt employee ,” and that he should have been paid overtime for all the 8-20 hours he worked over 40 each week – including the “extensive tasks” he performed at Ms. Dion’s home each week.
While her heart might go on, let’s hope Ms. Dion’s failure to pay workers properly doesn’t.