Actress Tracee Ellis Ross is being accused of working her former personal assistant to the bone and screwing her out of overtime.
According to court documents obtained by Radar, Samantha Wilkins is suing Tracee Ellis Ross and her company Joy Mill Entertainment.
In the suit, Wilkins says she worked for the actress from November 15, 2019, until July 12, 2021. She started off being paid $25 per hour and received overtime and meal breaks.
In December 2019, Wilkins claims Ross decided going forward “she would be classified as an exempt employee and paid a salary of $70,000 per year.” A non-exempt employee would be entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40.
In September 2020, Ross raised Wilkins’ salary to $100k per year. Wilkins claims Ross’ decision to pay her a salary instead of hourly was improper. “Defendants misclassified her as an exempt employee,” the suit reads.
In November 2020, Ross and her company “finally corrected” Wilkins employment status and began to treat her as a non-exempt, hourly employee. The former personal assistant says “therefore, from December 19, 2019, to November 24, 2020, Defendants misclassified Wilkins employment and treated her as a non-exempt employee.”
She accuses Ross of “illegally paying” her a salary “without regard to the number of hours she worked, the number of hours she was on call, the overtime and double time hours that she worked, or the meal and rest periods that she missed.”
In the suit, Ross’ ex-employee says she worked more than 40 hours per week but was not paid overtime. She says that she regularly worked 12 hours+ days and worked 7 days a week.
Wilkins says she was “regularly denied meal and rest breaks.” The suit accuses Ross of violating California Labor Codes.
In the suit, Wilkins also accuses Ross of using Joy Mill as a “shell” company and that “any individuality and separateness between them have ceased, and that Ross is the alter ego of Joy Mill.”
Wilkins is suing for all the alleged unpaid wages owed plus punitive damages against Ross.