A former personal assistant to Lady Gaga, who
says she was cheated out of overtime pay, can
take her case to trial, a judge has ruled.
Jennifer O’Neill worked for the singer in early
2009 and again for a year from February 2010.
She claims she was required to be available to her
27-year-old boss 24 hours a day, seven days a
She says she was paid at a flat rate of $50,000
(£32,000) annually when she was first hired and
$75,000 (£48,000) annually the second time.
It is believed she is suing Gaga for more than
7,000 unpaid hours.
In his written decision, district judge Paul
Gardephe noted that lawyers said Gaga and Ms
O’Neill frequently slept in the same bed because
Ms O’Neill never had her own hotel room while on
tour and was required to address Gaga’s needs
throughout the night.
Ms O’Neill had testified in a deposition that if Lady
Gaga was watching a DVD in the middle of the
night and grew tired of it, she woke her up to
take it out and replace it with another.
“Every day is a work day for her, so every day is a
work day for the rest of us,” she said. “There is no
‘We’re going to stay in, we’re going to sleep’.
There is no, ‘Let’s put on sweatpants and go out
to the movies and be girlfriends’. It doesn’t work
In her deposition testimony, Gaga had testified:
“You don’t get a schedule. You don’t get a
schedule that is like you punch in and you can
play … at your desk for four hours and then you
punch out at the end of the day. This is when I
need you, you’re available.”
Ms O’Neill had testified she was responsible for
sometimes monitoring the singer’s email and
telephone communications and for handling all
her luggage – generally 20 bags – including
clothing, accessories, makeup and toiletries.
She was also responsible for making sure that
“special food” was available at every location and
for making sure the singer arrived at
performances on time and had ample time for
hairstyling, makeup and voice warm-ups and that she appeared on stage on time.
She said she assisted with costume changes
during performances and was responsible
afterwards for arranging ice packs, tea and a
shower, along with dinner and an exit from the
The judge noted that the women met after Gaga
moved into Ms O’Neill’s apartment building on the
Lower East Side of Manhattan before 2008, when
they became roommates and friends.
Ms O’Neill was offered a position as her personal
assistant because they were friends and she had
experience in the music industry, court papers
Mr Gardephe said a jury can decide to what
extent Ms O’Neill might be owed compensation
from the pop star, whose real name is Stefani
Lawyers did not immediately comment.
Gaga performed in the UK for the first time in a
year at the beginning of September after
undergoing hip surgery.