The Face Modeling Competition Winner Devyn Abdullah Files Complaint Seeking Payment of Withheld Portion of Ulta Beauty Contract Award Against Direct Model Management, Inc. and Owner Mykola Webster

On April 21, 2015, The Dugger Law Firm, PLLC filed a federal complaint on behalf of Devyn Abdullah, the first winner of The Face television modeling competition, against her former modeling agency, Direct Model Management, Inc., as well as Direct owner and president Mykola Webster, and Direct head of finance Atiff Joseph, for violations of federal and state wage and hour laws, as well as breach of contract.  

The complaint alleges that Defendants misclassified Ms. Abdullah as an independent contractor in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

Among other violations, Ms. Abdullah alleges that Defendants withheld, and otherwise failed to pay her, at least $13,000 of her wages from The Face competition award of a $50,000 contract with Ulta Beauty

The complaint also alleges that Defendants failed to pay Ms. Abdullah for work with several additional modeling industry clients.

Ms. Abdullah seeks payment of minimum wages, payment of unpaid earned wages, liquidated damages with respect to minimum wages that were eventually paid but were not paid promptly, reimbursements for illegal deductions, additional associated liquidated damages, as well as damages for breach of contract and New York Labor Law recordkeeping violations.

The case is Abdullah v. Direct Model Management, Inc., et al., No. 15 Civ. 03100, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

For more information contact Cyrus E. Dugger at or (646) 560-3208.

Minimum Wage Hikes Gaining Steam

Great news regarding increasing the minimum wage with an increase from $8 to $11 an hour in Massachusetts signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick (fully effective by 2017) and, in the corporate sphere, with IKEA planning to raise it's average hourly wages to $10.76 an hour.

The Massachusetts law will give that state the highest minimum wage in the country.

From Governor Patrick - who appears to see this increase as just a first step:

"This minimum wage is great progress, but it's not a livable wage," Patrick said to applause from members of Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition that had gathered more than 350,000 signatures in favor of a minimum wage hike.
"Keep looking ahead and above all, keep in mind that people for whom the American dream is still just a dream . . . deserve the chance for themselves and their families to dream along with the rest of us . . . ." (link)

President Obama, who recently signed an executive order increasing the wages of employees of federal contractors to $10.10 on future contracts (effective 2015) and has supported increasing the federal minimum wage (currently a measly $7.25 an hour) to $10.10, strongly praised Massachusetts lawmakers for the new law.

Jets Cheerleader Brings Minimum Wage Claim

It appears the Jets do not pay their cheerleaders in compliance with minimum wage laws:

"A former New York Jets cheerleader, alleging pay she received amounted to less than minimum wage and that her out-of-pocket expenses included $45 weekly for hair straightening required by the team, has filed a class action lawsuit against the team.

. . .

She says she was paid $150 per game – but not for others hours of required work – as a member of the New York Jets Flight Crew during the 2012 season. The suit is similar to others filed by cheerleaders against the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills." (link)

The Jets cheerleader alleges she was paid only $3.77 an hour for her work. 

The complaint is available here.