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Earlier this month, fashion designer and former Yeezy employee, Taliah Leslie, filed a lawsuit against Kanye West alleging West violated California labor law by, among other things, failing to pay her for required, off-the-clock work.  Leslie further alleges West misclassified workers as independent contractors to skirt wage and benefits requirements, despite those workers having the duties of full-time employees.  Leslie also contends West failed to pay her for required out-of-town travel, compensate for overtime hours, and provide off-duty meal breaks for workers as required by California labor laws.  Moreover, Leslie accuses West of failing to maintain payroll records documenting the hours workers logged and the wages West paid them.  Leslie previously filed a claim in February with the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which did not notify Leslie of its intent to investigate the matter, leading to Leslie filing the civil lawsuit.

Under California law, workers who believe their employer owes them wages or who are misclassifying employees as independent contractors may file a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office.  Similarly, workers with these complaints in North Carolina may file a complaint with the North Carolina Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Bureau, who will choose whether to pursue the matter.  Moreover, the North Carolina Employee Fair Classification Act established the Employee Classification Section of the North Carolina Industrial Commission and tasked it with investigating reports of employee misclassification and assisting State agencies in the recovery of “any back taxes, wages, benefits, penalties, or other monies owed as a result of an employer engaging in employee misclassification.”

Employees in North Carolina may also take legal action on their own without first filing a wage complaint with the Bureau.  Pursuant to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, employers are required to pay employees, on the regular payday, all wages and tips they accrue.  Employers who violate the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act can be liable for two times the amount of the wrongfully withheld wages, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.  Employees have two years from the date the wages became due to bring an action pursuant to the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act.

If you believe an employer owes you wages or is misclassifying you as an independent contractor, or if your business needs assistance in defending an action for unpaid wages or employee misclassification, please contact us at (704) 457-1010.  For more information regarding our firm, attorneys, and practice areas, please visit our website at