Class actions law suits aimed to recover unpaid wages for volunteer intern shave been all the rage the last several years. Some have reached settlements, while others are still being fought tooth and nail. NBCUniversal, was largely hit by former interns who worked in their New York and Los Angeles studios. Pending court approval, NBC has agree to pay a $6.4 million settlement to be split among these unpaid workers.
Unpaid internships have been a staple in many creative industries. It allowed the entertainment and fashion industries (to name a couple) to maintain low overhead costs while students gained real life, valuable work experience. If and when the $6.4 million figure is approved, it will be the largest settlement for interns in the entertainment industry. Interns worked on sets for NBC, like on Saturday Night Live.
Interns involved in the infamous/famous lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures, specifically for work done on the film “Black Swan”, are hopeful that the NBC legal proceeding will establish the “merit” and “solid ground” of their own suit.
“I think that sends a very clear message to other media companies—and any large employer who has taken advantage of unpaid intern labor—that they should take this issue very, very seriously,” said lead plaintiff Eric Glatt about the Black Swan lawsuit.
Ross Perlin, writer of “Intern Nation” estimates that companies save upwards of $2 billion in labor costs by using unpaid interns.
Source: LA Times