“Charlie Rose” Interns Reach Settlement Over Wage and Hour Lawsuit
December 27, 2012
In a previous Santa Ana labor and employment attorney blog, Vincent Howard discussed a wage and hour lawsuit filed against the "Charlie Rose" television talk show--after a former unpaid intern accused the show of violating state wage laws by classifying interns as unpaid interns instead of employees, and failing to properly compensate them.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the class wage and hour action lawsuit has been recently settled, for around $250,000. The court documents claim that each class member will receive $110 for each week that the intern worked on the show, up to a maximum of ten weeks of work. The class reportedly covers interns who worked on the "Charlie Rose" show between March 14, 2006 and October 1, 2012, and is based on an average internship week consisting of 2.5 days, and an intern day consisting of 6 hours.
Along with the class members' settlement awards, Charlie Rose also agreed to pay $50,000 in legal fees for the plaintiff's attorneys.
The class action lawsuit was brought by former unpaid intern Lucy Bickerton, along with other interns, who accused the show of regularly using around ten unpaid interns to perform the work of full time employees--failing to pay the interns for their significant work that they contributed to the show.
Bickerton's unpaid wages lawsuit alleged that even after working around twenty-five hours per week for three months in 2007, she wasn't paid. Bickerton claimed that her duties while working on the show included assembling press packets, background research, escorting guests to the show, and breaking down the set, along with cleaning.
According to the New York State Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), unpaid internships are permitted when used as an educational training program, where the employer achieves no immediate gain from their work. Under state and federal law, an intern must not replace regularly paid employees, and if an employer uses an intern to replace a regular worker's responsibilities, or to supplement the company's existing team of workers in general or during specific periods of time--the interns should be treated as regular employees.
Over the past few years there has been an increase of wage and hour lawsuits dealing with unpaid internships entertainment industry. As Vincent Howard recently reported in a Santa Ana wage and hour blog post, Fox Searchlight Pictures is currently embroiled in an ongoing lawsuit filed by unpaid interns who worked on the film, "Black Swan," who accuse the company of wage and hour law violations. According to the Hollywood Reporter, labor attorneys have warned Hollywood companies that there will be an increase of litigation, unless they follow the Department of Labor's unpaid internship protocol.
Howard Law, PC, based in Costa Mesa, California, represents California and federal wage and hour violation issues, To discuss your wage and hour rights, contact labor and employment attorney Vincent Howard today.
'Charlie Rose' Interns Settle Unpaid Wages Lawsuit, The Hollywood Reporter, December 20, 2012
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