L’Officiel Magrèce Sino-American Editions, a French publishing house, is being sued by New York City Council member Julissa Ferreras for not paying its two news editors about $30,000 in overtime, per a complaint filed in the state Supreme Court on Wednesday.
At issue is roughly $6.9 million in unpaid overtime, according to the lawsuit, which alleges that Cesar Viana, a news editor at L’Officiel Magazine, and Eliezer Pérez de Andrade, the news director at the same publication, have never been paid overtime rates.
The suit states that their bosses at L’Officiel earned around $200,000 each annually while they were not receiving overtime pay.
“It is totally absurd that L’Officiel did not pay this staggering sum of money, which they owed to thousands of news writers and editors,” Ferreras said in a statement. “Something is terribly wrong with a company that does not pay its staff overtime, particularly when they worked an extra two hours per day and several times a week.”
“I thought we were being paid overtime when I was working there,” Viana said in a statement. “I always made sure to pay my overtime even if I paid my salary first because we all thought it was an issue of course when people weren’t being paid overtime.”
There is no indication who the company’s owners are or have been, but the house has a long history as an editor’s only paradise.
For nearly half a century, Parisian magazine l’Officiel has looked out for women, adolescents and young people and for gay teenagers. Its wild covers were inspired by popular culture.
The company owned by prominent women’s rights activist Emmanuelle Sauvage, founded L’Officiel Magrèce Sino-American Editions in New York in 1991 and was awarded the Honored Editors Award by the PEN American Center the following year.
“Trying to pay is also hard for women editors who have to meet so many deadlines while under pressure to turn out daily quality stories,” Sauvage told The New York Times in 2010, when the company was sued for wage disparities. The case was eventually settled out of court.
The wait was over in 2017 when the French magazine L’Officiel published its first edition outside of France.
“We reached a milestone,” Sauvage told HuffPost UK at the time. “And we hope that our new format encourages English-speaking readers to look for the magazine that France long forgot about.”