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TapouT Lawsuit: Ex-Model Michelle Thomas Claims SoCal Mixed Martial Arts Company Forced Workers To Watch TV

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Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge TapouT's Punkass and Skyskrape.
  • TapouT's Punkass and Skyskrape.
Grab your tissue box, folks, because this is one hell of a tear-jerker. Okay, ready? Here we go: Michelle Thomas, a 32-year-old ometime model who worked for the mixed-martial-arts clothing and lifestyle company TapouT says in a lawsuit that her bosses actually made her watch television on her own time.

Say what? For real, yo. Say what you will about child labor in China or sweatshops in Mexico, but when it comes down to it America has a worker exploitation problem that we all must own up to.

Television on your own time? That's a crime. And so ...

... Thomas claims that the company required workers to watch its eponymous reality show on Versus as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts on Pay Per View on their own time -- and on their own dime.

Despicable.

The woman from San Pedro worked at the company for eight months in sales and filed her wrongful termination suit in 2008, but it's just now being heard before a jury this week.

"We'd also be tested on these shows,'' Thomas testified. "I'd be verbally yelled at if I didn't watch them.''

Dickensian.

The meat of her suit alleges overtime pay that was denied as well as unpaid commission. She said she got a base salary of $30,000 but was "promised $70,000 a year."

(We're guessing that's contingent on actually making sales).

Thomas said she was fired after complaining about her long work hours. Of course, there's another side to this coin.

TapouT attorney Gail F. Montgomery says Thomas was filed for insubordination and yelling in the office.

We once interviewed the founders of TapouT and they were actually really nice guys. Wanna guess which way we think this case is going to go?

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.

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