Phaedra Parks refused to help Kandi Burruss’ former employee, Johnnie Winston, when he came to her on The Real Housewives of Atlanta in attempt to sue Burruss for not paying overtime wages, but that’s not stopping the former employee from moving forward with the lawsuit.
According to documents obtained from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Winston is suing Burruss and Kandi Koated Entertainment for “failure to pay overtime and minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.”
Winston, who served as a studio manager, event planner and production coordinator from August 3, 2013 to February 29, 2016, claims Burruss 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, according to RadarOnline.
In the October 27, 2016 lawsuit, Winston claims he was ordered to attend mandatory meetings twice each month and to be available to work seven days a week for 10 to 12 hours a day. Throughout his employment, he was reportedly paid for five days a week.
When his title was changed to event planner in February of 2014, his duties allegedly increased and he was required to work for seven days a week for 20 hours a day.
He was terminated on April 20, 2015 before they re-hired him on May 1, 2015.
“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 docs read. “Defendants failed to pay Mr. Winston the required minimum wage for performing his duties as required by the FLSA.”
Winston claims Burruss denied his request for required pay.
He is demanding a trial by jury and asks to be granted “liquidated damages in an additional amount equal to back pay and benefits.”
In Burruss’ response to the lawsuit filed on November 28, 2016, she denied the allegations against her.
“Defendants did not willfully violate the Fair Labor Standards Act because any acts or omissions giving rise to this action were reasonable, undertaken in good faith, and were not undertaken with reckless disregard as to whether such actions or omissions violated the FLSA,” the response read. “Defendants cannot be liable for liquidated damages.”
Burruss asks the complaint be dismissed with prejudice.
On a recent episode of RHOA, Burruss explained her reasoning for terminating her longtime employee.
“The reason you were let go is because you have your side company,” she said. “It was business.”
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