Child stars turned producers turned fashion gurus won't be turning into labor attorneys anytime soon. The Olson Twins have been served a class action lawsuit of forty current and previous interns for unpaid wages. The suit was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court and names Dualstar Entertainment, the umbrella company for the Olsen fashion labels, the Row and Elizabeth and James.
The interns allege they were unpaid, and while some interns received college or vocational credit, those who were not students did not. They worked over 50 hour week weeks, “running personal errands for paid employees, photocopying, sewing, making spreadsheets.” The head plaintiff, Shahista Lalani, alleges the working conditions were horrendous—she was even hospitalized for dehydration at one point while running errands in 100 degree weather and carrying excessive weight.
According to Lalani, the head technical designer was demanding and hostile. “I was doing the work of three interns. I was talking to her all day, all night. Emails at nighttime for the next day, like 10pm at night.” The class members allege that the interns were doing the same kind of work as paid, entry level employees, but the company used them as interns to skirt minimum wage laws.
Lalani worked for a five month period, “you're like an employee, except you're not getting paid.” While the plaintiff concedes that the Olsen Twins themselves were “never mean to anyone,” she alleges that Dualstar owes the interns at least minimum wage, back pay, and penalties.