Working as a celebrity's 24/7 assistant is expected to have its crazy moments, and when Lianna Shakhnazaryan (also known as Lianna Azarian) took the job working for Mariah Carey, she got a salary that reflected the amount of work involved, starting out at $250,000 and raised to $328,500. Now, a lot of us might think we could put up with just about anything for that type of salary.

On the other side of things, when Carey and her manager, Stella Bulochnikov (also known as Stella Stolper), hired an assistant at this great salary, they probably expected that Shakhnazaryan would take care of just about anything, be trustworthy, and put up with whatever came her way.

Boy, were both of them wrong. The two women are now suing each other and it promises to get juicy and get into the details of really exciting employment law. Carey is suing her former assistant, saying she threatened to release videos of her if Carey didn't pay up $8 million.

Shakhnazaryan's complaint says that Bulochnikov called her an "Armenian whore" (among other offensive things) and, constantly committed physical abuse "including slapping [Shakhnazarayn]'s buttocks and breasts, as well as pushing Plaintiff and tackling her to the ground and sitting her." Additionally, Shaknazaryan claims that Bulochnikov held down and urinated on her or allowed other people to urinate on her.

Now, people can claim anything they would like in a lawsuit and the courts will have to sort out the facts, but if even a small portion of this is true. it was a rotten environment.

Shakhnazaryan also claims that "Carey also committed physical and emotional/psychological abuse against [Shakhnazaryan]."

In business "I didn't do it" is not actually a defense.

The lawsuit claims over 20 defendants including corporations. Because Shakhnazaryan was hired to work 24/7, everything she did was during her work day. (And no, it's not illegal to require someone to work 24/7, although California does require breaks.) Clearly, not all of them did all of the things alleged in the complaint, but if someone else the employer becomes liable once they know about it. 

This is why when you go to HR and say, "so-and-so sexually harassed me, but I don't want you to do anything" they have to ignore that request. They are on notice and are now liable.

What about Carey's lawsuit against her employee?

According to People, Shakhnazaryan tried to blackmail the singer with the release of "intimate" videos, which she allegedly previously showed to others, used her business credit card for personal things, and "turned out to be a grifter and extortionist."

When everyone is horrible

While sometimes there is a clear victim and a clear perpetrator, these lawsuits are quite reflective of real life. You can't blackmail someone who doesn't have something to hide. People who are living clean, honest lives rarely have something to hide. (Although, a video of something completely innocuous like a shower could go viral when a celebrity is involved.). You should know, going into it, that anyone who demands your work 24/7 will be a rotten boss.

It's quite possible that both sides are exaggerating, but it's also quite possible that both sides are correct and the other person was awful.

Your lesson in this is don't assume that the person who complains is angelic. These lawsuits will probably be sorted out behind closed doors with a confidential settlement, so we won't know the truth of anything. Most investigations within your company will also be handled behind closed doors and not end up in court. But, when you make assumptions rather than investigating, you're unlikely to come to the truth.

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Published on: Jan 20, 2019
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