Should interns be paid? The U.S. Department of Labor has guidelines about internships to prevent employers from taking advantage of legal loopholes to under compensate or not pay workers.
Sadly, some state officials in California have long suspected that some companies are taking advantage of the job market for young professionals.
Recently, the Hollywood Reporter noted that two former ICM interns have submitted a motion for class certification in a lawsuit that has the potential of developing into a significant case. ICM is an entertainment talent agency with offices in Los Angeles.
According to the Reporter, Kimberly Behzadi and Jason Rindenau say they were not paid to perform work normally assigned to agents or their assistants. The two reportedly were assigned duties including “script coverage,” the process of reading scripts and summarizing them, and “coverage reports,” or condensing information in scripts for use in casting and client meetings, the news outlet said.
The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court. ICM has reportedly asked the court to dismiss the case, saying that the interns have an arbitration agreement in place.
Can Interns Seek Compensation through Lawsuits?
Several interns have successfully filed lawsuits against their employers for making them perform the same job as full-time employees without pay. This is especially true in Hollywood, where two former interns who worked on the film Black Swan were victorious recently in a lawsuit for wages.
Keep in mind, all businesses in California seeking to hire interns must submit an outline of the proposed internship to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). They must show that the position exists for the intern’s benefit.
Contact our employment attorneys if you suspect that an employer is abusing your internship. We will seek the compensation you are owed, if you have not been paid for the work you have performed.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob– Los Angeles employment attorneys
Did You Know? Before starting an internship, you should have a mutual understanding with the company about pay or the lack thereof.