Producers of American Idol Get Sued for Not Paying Overtime

Former employees of the reality show "American Idol" have recently filed a class action lawsuit, claiming they were not paid overtime, and missed meal and rest breaks.

The article from Rueters is at this link. http://www.reuters.com/article/televisionNews/idUSTRE52J06X20090320

The "American Idol" employees sued the show's producer FremantleMedia North America. The article says that employees were paid flat rate on a daily or weekly basis, which is essentially getting paid on a salary basis.

I find that there are a lot of people who are unaware that it is the law that dictates whether an employee should be paid on a salary or hourly basis. In California, you must be paid on a hourly basis and receive overtime pay unless you are "exempted." There are three general exemption categories: executive, administrative, and professional. In order to be deemed "exempt," the employee must spend at least 50% of their time performing exempt work duties. For example, to qualify for the executive exemption, the employee must perform managerial type functions while exercising judgment and discretion. So, the boss cannot just label someone a "Manager" and refuse to pay overtime if the employee spends more than 50% of working time simply working alongside the other employees and only sometimes performs managerial work.

At Kumin Sommers, LLP, we file overtime suits against employers regularly, and often the litigation focuses on whether the person was properly classified as a salary employee. We have more information about the overtime exemptions on our website on the "Wage and Hour" page under "Services."