A former Saturday Night Live intern and a former MSNBC intern are the latest unpaid workers to take to the courts. Monet Eliastam and Jesse Moore filed a proposed class action complaint today against NBCUniversal in federal court in New York. “By misclassifying Plaintiffs and hundreds of workers as unpaid or underpaid interns, NBCUniversal has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees, including unemployment, workers’ compensation insurance, social security contributions, and, most crucially, the right to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, says the 23-page complaint. [...] The proposed class action goes after NBCUniversal for labor law violations in using what are essentially free workers. “A key part of NBCUniversal’s success are the hundreds of unpaid or underpaid interns who work for it as production assistants, researchers, and delivery-people, but receive no or very little compensation for their work,” it adds.
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This week’s filing comes on the heels of a June 11 summary judgment against Fox Searchlight in the ongoing Black Swan interns case as well as more recent intern suits against Conde Nast and Warner Music from interns who claim that they were performing employee duties for no wages. “I think the companies are going to start to have to understand they have to pay their workers, whether they call them interns or not,” Eliastam and Moor’s attorney Justin Swartz told me today. “As a result of these minimum wage violations, Plaintiffs and the members of the Intern Collective have suffered damages in amounts to be determined at trial, and are entitled to recovery of such amounts, liquidated damages, prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees, costs, and other compensation,” Eliastam and Moore’s filing says.
The complaint covers the period from July 3, 2010 to whenever a final judgment is given by the courts. Attorney Swartz, who is with the NYC firm of Outten & Golden, also represents the plaintiffs in the potentially game changing Black Swan case.
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