10/17/2011 // Los Angeles, CA , USA // Keller Grover LLP // Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Eric Grover
Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Employment Lawyer News) — Unpaid internships are a prevalent and widely accepted college requirement students must perform in order to earn their degree, or even get their foot in the door for a job in their chosen field. But, a newly filed lawsuit by the unpaid interns of Fox Searchlight may have many companies thinking twice before taking on a new batch of interns for the next semester, reports Los Angeles employment attorney Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
As The New York Times reports, the unpaid interns of the hit movie “Black Swan” filed the wage and hour employment lawsuit, seeking class action status, in a Manhattan federal court. The lawsuit asserts that the producer of “Black Swan” required the interns to complete “menial work” that should have been done by paid employees. Furthermore, the interns assert that they were not given adequate educational experience while on the job, which is required by many state labor laws in order to exempt employers from paying interns.
As reported by The NY Times, the lawsuit also claimed that, “Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work. In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.”
Fox Searchlight is also accused of acting illegally by failing to meet the federal Department of Labor’s criteria for unpaid internships, which requires employers to give interns a position that will benefit them; will not displace regular employees; provide training that is similar to what would be given in an educational institution; and that the employer derive no immediate advantage from the intern’s activities, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit is seeking class action status for more than 100 unpaid interns who were employed by various Fox Searchlight productions, as well as back pay under federal and state wage laws and an injunction barring Fox Searchlight from improperly using unpaid interns.
“If successful, this lawsuit may open the floodgates for similar lawsuits regarding unpaid internships, which will finally expose the ugly side of unpaid internships. While real internships do help students learn about their industry and help get their foot in the door, interns are often treated unfairly and do not always receive the educational benefit that they were seeking when they applied for the internship,” California wage and hour lawyer Eric Grover explains.
“Companies need to be held accountable if they are going to use this essentially ‘free labor.’ If corporations are going to take on interns, they need to give their interns an educational lesson and teach them essential skills for that industry—not just have them perform menial tasks. If they’re not going to pay them for the work they complete, they should at least provide them with industry knowledge. This lawsuit will hopefully stop companies from taking on unpaid interns to supplement for employees that they would otherwise have had to pay to complete the tasks,” states Grover, the Los Angeles employment attorney.
The experienced Los Angeles employment attorneys at Keller Grover LLP are skilled in handling all aspects of employment law cases. If you or someone you know has been a victim of workplace discrimination and harassment based on race, sex, age, or disability, or you had your wage and hour rights violated, contacting a reputable Los Angeles employment lawyer can help get the justice and compensation you deserve.
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