At last count, at least seven class action lawsuits from attendees and investors are on the books over the now-infamous Fyre Festival failure. We are by no means fortune tellers here at ClassAction.org, but we have to pose the question – will the next case come from Fyre Festival employees?
After all, they learned this week they’re not getting paid.
VICE News on Thursday published an exclusive report containing leaked audio in which 25-year-old Fyre Festival founder and class action defendant Billy McFarland told employees that they will not be issued their paychecks owed for the last two weeks of work. For the insult-to-injury part of the story, Vice News writes McFarland won’t be firing the employees either, which may have qualified many for unemployment benefits.
“Instead, McFarland offered to let his dozen-or-so employees stay on in unpaid roles, where they could work to grow the business to a place where they might get paid again,” wrote VICE News’ Gabrielle Bluestone.
VICE notes audio of a meeting between McFarland, Ja Rule and employees bookends “weeks of uncertainty” among workers tasked primarily with putting together a celebrity and talent-booking app meant to be promoted by the festival. Further still, not only were employees told they’re not getting paid, McFarland reportedly reminded the individuals about a preservation notice sent earlier “warning them not to delete or remove any files related to” the lawsuits against company.
For our money, so long as there’s no mandatory arbitration clause in place between Fyre Festival and its employees, this is the recipe for a wage and hour class action lawsuit.
Across our desks every day come lawsuits filed by current and former employees who say they were not paid proper wages, whether they be minimum, overtime, or state-specific wages like spread-of-hours pay owed in New York. Given the litigation-heavy atmosphere surrounding McFarland, co-founder and co-defendant Ja Rule, and agents working for their company, it’s a fairly safe bet that McFarland informing his employees that “there will be no payroll in the short term” will only add to their ballooning legal problems.
The entire audio of the call between McFarland and Fyre employees can be heard over at News.Vice.com.