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Alanis Morissette Sued by Ex-Nanny Over Wages, Breaks

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By Betty Wang, JD on September 30, 2013 1:43 PM

Alanis Morissette is being sued by her former nanny. Morissette, 39, and her husband Mario Treadway had hired Bianca Cambeiro to take care of their son, Ever, three to four days a week back in August 2011, People reports.

Cambeiro alleges in court documents, according to People, that the singer and her husband never paid her overtime, nor did they allow her to take breaks during 12-hour shifts. The former nanny now seeks no less than $100,000.

What does this mean? Is the former Grammy winner in trouble?

Overtime, Breaks Required?

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must meet minimum standards set by wage and hour laws. Depending on whether or not an employee is exempt or nonexempt, however, the requirements may vary.

Nonexempt employees, under FLSA, must be paid at least the minimum wage, and overtime for any hours worked beyond 40 in a given week. The FLSA states that nonexempt employees are entitled to time and a half of their regular pay rate per hour of overtime.

However, the FLSA does not actually require breaks or meals to be given to workers. Under state law, though, California does impose a requirement for a period of a paid 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked, and generally requires that an employee gets a 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked.

Are Nannies Covered by the Law?

Where do nannies fall within the rights of the federal and state law?

Depending on a number of factors, nannies and other domestic service employees who work in private homes can be considered workers protected by FLSA. This means that if Cambeiro meets the requirements for a nanny under the FLSA and she was in fact working more than 40 hours per week, then she may be entitled to overtime pay, as well as a whole slew of other FLSA protections.

Also, the IRS generally classifies nannies as employees. This means that California's laws on meal and rest breaks could apply as well.

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