Lesson of the day: Don’t treat your unpaid interns like some little herd of free laborers, okay studios? Not only is in poor form (pun intended), but it can also land you on the receiving end of a big, fat lawsuit with the quickness.
That’s just what happened with a pair of so-called “interns” on 20th Century Fox’s production of “Black Swan,” Alexander Footman and Eric Glatt, who’ve now won their federal case against the studio for mishandling their term on the set.
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Federal judge William Pauley has decided that the duo “were classified improperly as unpaid interns and are ’employees'” and “worked as paid employees work, providing an immediate advantage to their employer.” In a nutshell, this means that the two gentlemen were then legally protected under the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York’s labor laws and are due some dough.
Meanwhile, the big kicker in today’s “Black Swan” interns-versus-employee distinction case came when Judge Pauley certified a class action suit to allow exploration of internships throughout the entirety of Fox Entertainment Group. “Here, the relatively small recoveries available to individual plaintiffs make a class action a more efficient mechanism,” he explained. So, essentially, David just sling-shotted the sh*t out of Goliath.
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