In regards to her former employee’s lawsuit, RHOA star Kandi Burruss isn’t going down without a fight. An Atlanta judge approved Burruss’ countersuit for breach of contract and defamation against former employee Johnnie Winston, who sued Burruss for not paying overtime wages.
In court papers obtained from the U.S. District Court for the Northern Division of Georgia, Burruss filed the counterclaim based on statements Winston made on two episodes of RHOA regarding his former boss stealing his ideas for a restaurant and a play. She claims his statements were made “with actual malice” to harm Burruss and promote his celebrity status, RadarOnline reports.
“Plaintiff opposes the motion on the grounds that Defendants are adding these counterclaims out of bad faith and with a retaliatory motive and that the counterclaims have no reasonable basis in fact or law,” the filling reads. “He also argues that the motion is unduly delayed and that the Defendants have failed to establish good cause under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”
But the court found that Burruss’ counterclaim is not in bad faith and approved the suit.
In a second court filing, Burruss responds to Winston’s amended complaint, where he accused her of being a boss from hell.
“Plaintiff’s claims are baseless, are in direct violation of a contractual agreement and are geared specifically to garner attention for Plaintiff and his own company,” the filing read. “Defendants also note that Plaintiff timed the filing of his claims to coincide with the production and airing of the television show.”
Kandi claims Winston’s allegations are “false,” “malicious” and breach a Non-Disclosure Agreement signed by him.
Burruss claims he was “classified, treated and compensated as an independent contractor” when he worked for her. She alleges that between February 2016 and August 2016 Winston made no request for additional payment. She learned that he was unsatisfied with his payment on a RHOA episode.
Kandi is asking for a trial by jury and that the court dismisses his action against the Defendant with prejudice.
As we previously reported, Winston sued Burruss in January 2016 for “failure to pay overtime and minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.”
Winston, who claims to have served as a studio manager, event planner and production coordinator from August 3, 2013 to February 29, 2016, claims Kandi failed to pay him wages for time spent working in the recording studio, planning events, running errands, preparing meals for events, performing handyman and housekeeping duties, attending meetings, and more.
When his title was changed in February 2014, his duties allegedly increased and he was required to work for seven days a week for 20 hours a day.
“Beginning in August 2013 and continuing through his termination on February 29, 2016, Defendants failed to pay Mr. Winston any overtime pay for performing his duties as required by the FLSA,” the filing read. “Defendants failed to pay Mr. Winston the required minimum wage for performing his duties as required by the FLSA.”
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