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Wage Suit by Unpaid Intern against Lion’s Gate Settled

An unpaid intern for “The Wendy Williams Show,” who filed a class action wage suit against the show’s production company, Lion’s Gate Entertainment, has agreed to settle his claims against the company for $1.3 million dollars. The intern brought the suit on behalf of almost 100 unpaid interns who worked in the show in both New York and California, claiming that the company deprived the class of their minimum wage rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The complaint alleges that Lion’s Gate unlawfully classified the interns as exempt from FLSA. Lion’s Gate allegedly failed to provide academic or vocational training, and the interns’ daily duties were limited to getting coffee, stocking printers, dishwashing, gathering art supplies, and throwing out garbage. Instead of being the primary beneficiaries of the internship, the interns were primarily performing work that benefited of the bus company without compensation.

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued extensive guidance regarding FLSA coverage of unpaid interns. The agency outlined six factors to help determine whether an internship gives rise to an employment relationship and invokes FLSA’s protections:

·      Although it involves the employer’s operations and facilities, the internship must be similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;

·      The experience is primarily for the benefit of the intern;

·      Regular employees will not be displaced, but the intern works under the supervision of current staff;

·      The company hosting the internship gets no immediate benefit from the intern’s activities;

·      The internship does not guarantee permanent employment upon its conclusion; and

·      All the parties involved understand that wages will not be provided for hours spent in the internship.

The existence of an employment relationship is a complex question that may result in liability for unpaid wages, either under FLSA’s minimum wage or overtime provisions. If you believe that you wage rights have been compromised by your employer, Dejban Law can assist you in obtaining the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us now by email at info@dejbanlaw.com or by phone us at (818) 325-3820 for a free and confidential initial consultation.