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Celine Dion employment lawsuit addresses important issue

"I drove all night," Celine Dion sung proudly in 2003 while covering a famous Cyndi Lauper tune. However, allegedly pushing for that kind of commitment is putting the famous Diva in hot water with one of her former employees.

The former employee has filed a wage and hour claim against the singer, and insists that he is not the only employee who has been harmed by her employment practices. His claim indicates that he was denied overtime compensation despite regularly working more than 40 hours a week.

The overtime was allegedly denied due to a misclassification issue. Dion and her husband classified the employee as "exempt" due to his status as a warehouse manager. However, the claim points out that "during the entire time that Plaintiff worked at the warehouse... he was the sole employee there, and thus there was no one to exert managerial powers over."

In order for employers to deny their employees overtime, those employees must be legally considered exempt. This classification is usually reserved for professionals and individuals who exercise managerial power. Misclassification of employees in order to deny them overtime or benefits is an all-too-common practice among employers. Employers also regularly misclassify employees to avoid paying certain taxes and workers' compensation payments.

This lawsuit, regardless of whether or not the employee's claim is warranted, highlights an important point. Certain rights and benefits of employees are protected under the law based on employee classification status. Employees who are misclassified may have the ability to assert a claim in order to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: TheRepublic.com, "Celine Dion sued by employee for overtime violations," Tim Kenneally, June 29, 2012

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