It is often said that no employer is immune from a wage-hour lawsuit. That no matter how diligent an employer is about complying with wage-hour laws, there is nothing to prevent an employee from alleging that it did not comply in full with the law, leaving it to the attorneys and the court to sort things out. Perhaps the best evidence that no employer is immune from a wage-hour lawsuit came on Thursday, March 17, 2016. That is the date that history will always reflect that a wage-hour lawsuit was filed against Betty White.
Yes, that Betty White. Ninety-four year old Betty White. Sue Ann Nivens from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Rose from The Golden Girls. Betty White from The Betty White Show, and hundreds of talk shows, game shows, and commercials. One of the most recognizable faces of television for the past 50 years. And one of the most universally adored. That Betty White. Sued. For wage-hour violations.
On March 17, 2016, a former domestic named Anita Maynard filed suit against Betty White in state court in Los Angeles, alleging that she was not paid minimum wages or overtime, was not permitted to take meal and rest periods in compliance with the law, and was not paid all wages due to her when her employment ended. (The lawsuit is known as Anita Maynard v. Betty White Ludden. Some will recall Ms. White’s late husband, Allen Ludden, who hosted Password in the 1960s and 1970s before succumbing to cancer.) Now, we have no idea whether the claims have any merit. And, like many single-plaintiff wage suits, it may well be dismissed or settled quietly without anyone knowing much. But we do know this: if Betty White can be sued for wage-hour laws, then any employer can be.
And that is just another reminder of how important it is for employers to try to ensure compliance with wage-hour laws.