Tracee Ellis Ross and her company, Joy Mill Entertainment, are reportedly being sued by her former assistant, who claims she was not paid overtime. The “Black-ish” star is presently rejecting all charges and requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed, according to Radar Online.
Samantha Wilkins began working for the actress on Nov. 15, 2019, and completed her employment on July 12, 2021, according to court documents acquired by Radar Online. She was paid $25 per hour at first, with overtime and lunch breaks available. According to the lawsuit, a month later, Ross “decided to categorize Wilkins as an exempt employee and paid a compensation of $70,000 per year.”
Wilkins’ pay was increased to $100,000 per year in September 2020, meaning she would no longer be eligible for overtime. According to the lawsuit, Ross misclassified Wilkins as an exempt employee in order to avoid paying her correctly. In November 2020, the actress reversed her decision and began paying Wilkins on an hourly basis as a non-exempt employee. Despite the long hours Wilkins worked, money was supposedly owing to him.
“They illegally paid Wilkins a salary, without regard to the number of hours that she worked, the number of hours that she was on call, the overtime and double-time hours that she works, or the meal and rest periods that she missed,” the lawsuit asserts.
Although she frequently worked more than 12 hours a day, the former assistant stated that she was not paid overtime. She also says that “lunch and rest breaks were often denied” to her.
Wilkins is suing for allegedly underpaid wages and damages in the amount of $25,000 for “Labor Code Violations.”
“Defendants knowingly and intentionally failed to furnish Wilkins with wage statements that accurately reflected all of the information required by Labor Code 226,” the lawsuit read. “The acts and conduct of each and every defendant were intentional, harassing, and/or not a formal part of Wilkins’s employment and were not the result of a legitimate business necessity.”
Ross is requesting that the litigation be moved to private arbitration and out of the public spotlight while it is still ongoing. She claims that she and her employer paid the entire amount due.