Live Nation Entertainment Faces Wage Theft Lawsuit in California


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Live Nation Entertainment Faces Wage Theft Lawsuit in California

A subsidiary of the live music giant failed to pay overtime wages, failed to pay minimum wages for all hours worked, and failed to provide meal breaks, according to a complaint filed in a Los Angeles County court. The company denies the allegations.

Live Nation Entertainment

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Live Nation Entertainment is facing a lawsuit alleging multiple instances of wage theft, reports and Pitchfork can confirm. A complaint filed on Tuesday claims that Insomniac Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of the live music giant, violated California labor law by failing to pay overtime wages, failing to pay minimum wages for all hours worked, and failing to provide meal breaks.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Bibiyan Law Group on behalf of King Johnson, who worked as a security guard for Insomniac from about June 2021 to at least July 2022, according to the complaint. Johnson is bringing the case under the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, a unique state law that authorizes any “aggrieved employee” to sue an employer for themselves and all other employees who have been similarly harmed by alleged labor code violations. The lawsuit is against Insomniac and any of its parent, subsidiary, or affiliate companies within California.

According to the complaint, Insomniac required employees who were clocked out to “remain on-call,” complete pre-shift and post-shift tasks, work through meal periods, “don and doff” uniforms or safety gear, attend company meetings, and drive or make phone calls. Insomniac also allegedly failed to include all forms of pay, including meal allowances and bonuses, when calculating the overtime pay rate. The complaint claims, too, that Insomniac fudged time entries “to show fewer hours than actually worked.” All of this allegedly resulted in the Live Nation Entertainment subsidiary improperly paying the regular rate of pay instead of overtime pay. It also allegedly resulted in the company failing to pay the minimum wage for all hours worked.

Other allegations include failing to provide itemized and accurate wage statements, failing to pay employees for their paid time off and vacation time, and failing to reimburse the costs of driving personal vehicles or purchasing uniforms and safety gear. The complaint also alleges that Insomniac failed to provide the amount of paid sick leave required under California law and failed to pay wages within the legally required time frame.

Through the lawsuit, King Johnson is seeking civil penalties and more. When reached by Pitchfork, Insomniac shared the following statement:

This case is not factual. King Johnson never worked for Insomniac, and Insomniac was never involved in his payroll, time keeping or any other management function associated with him. He seems to have worked for a third-party security company. As such, we are filing to have this matter dismissed.

Live Nation has been in court recently over the Astroworld tragedy and the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster fiasco. Last month, Live Nation was sued over a forklift injury allegedly suffered by a stagehand who was building a stage for the Weeknd. Records on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website show that the company has been fined or sued over a variety of safety issues.

The California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, of which King Johnson and his attorneys are taking advantage, was in the news earlier this year when the California Supreme Court rejected a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would have undercut the sweeping law. The state’s attorney general argued that the law is necessary to protect workers’ rights and enforce labor protections, while business groups have contended that it is unfairly burdensome.

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