Former MSNBC and 'Saturday Night Live' Interns Target NBCUniversal in Lawsuit
Hollywood Reporter—by Eriq Gardner
The latest is a proposed class action against NBCUniversal from Jesse Moore, who says he worked 24-hour-or-more weeks in the booking department at MSNBC in 2011, and Monet Eliastam, who says she worked 25-hour-or-more weeks on the staff of Saturday Night Live in 2012.
They are being represented by Outten & Golden, the same law firm that represented two former Black Swan interns in a summary judgment win against Fox Searchlight last month.
According to the complaint, “By misclassifying Plaintiffs and hundreds of workers as unpaid or underpaid interns, NBCUniversal has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees, including unemployment, workers’ compensation insurance, social security contributions, and, most crucially, the right to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.”
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This class action alleging violations of the FLSA and New York Labor Laws estimates hundreds of interns in the proposed class. The complaint seeks unpaid wages, interest, and attorneys’ fees and costs for interns who worked at NBCUniversal between July 3, 2010 and the date of a final judgment.
Justin Swartz, attorney for the plaintiffs, says, “We hope that this case will send a clear message that private companies cannot rely on unpaid interns to perform entry-level work that contributes to operations and reduces their labor costs. Our clients and other unpaid interns seem to have been as integral to NBCUniversal’s business as other employees, but are different in a crucial way -- NBCUniversal didn’t pay them.”