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Federal Judge Rules Unpaid Interns Were Misclassified Employees, Certifies Class Action

Jun 13, 2013 / Media Coverage

courthousenews.com—Nick Divito

Two unpaid interns on the film "Black Swan" were actually Fox Searchlight employees, and a third intern can represent a class, a federal judge ruled.

Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman sued Searchlight and its parent company, Fox Entertainment Group, in October 2011 under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law.

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Antalik will get to represent a class alleging violation of New York Labor Law, U.S. District Judge William Pauley III ruled Tuesday.

The judge also conditionally certified a collective action on Antalik's claims under the federal labor law. Outten & Golden will serve as class counsel.

Glatt and Footman meanwhile won summary judgment, with Pauley finding that they are "employees" covered by federal and New York labor laws.

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"Undoubtedly, Glatt and Footman received some benefits from their internships such as resume listings, job references and an understanding of how a production office works," the 36-page decision states. "But those benefits were incidental to working in the office like any other employee and were not the result of internships intentionally structured to benefit them. Resume listings and job references result from any work relationship, paid or unpaid, and are not the academic or vocational training benefits envisioned by this factor.

"On the other hand, Searchlight received the benefits of their unpaid work, which otherwise would have required paid employees," Pauley continued.

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