Former Atlantic Records intern launches class action suit over unpaid wages

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, June 18, 2013

Warner Music Group, the parent company of Atlantic Records, is the latest entertainment company to be slapped with a class action lawsuit by some angry former interns.

The suit, which was filed in the New York Supreme Court Monday, seeks to recover claimed unpaid wages and overtime wages for a class that’s believed to be greater than 100 former interns at the record company.

It was filed less than a week after a federal judge in New York ruled that two interns working on the set of Fox Searchlight’s 2010 movie “Black Swan” were improperly classified as unpaid interns. However, this suit differs from the “Black Swan” suit because it alleges that New York labor laws were violated – not that the interns were improperly classified as interns and not employees under the Fair Standards Labor Act.

Justin Henry, the intern who started the class action suit, alleged in the suit that he worked at Atlantic Records between October 2007 and May 2008 answering phones, faxing papers, filing papers and retrieving lunch for paid employees. He would start at 10am and leave around 5 or 6pm five days a week, but was sometimes required to stay later.

The suit also alleges that there was no academic or vocational training as part of the internship, and that Henry was doing work that should have been done by paid employees.

According to one of Henry’s lawyers, Maurice S. Pianko, the statute of limitations for violation of New York labor law is six years – potentially allowing Henry to recoup wages and attorney’s fees from WMG.

This is the second lawsuit filed by the organization “Intern Justice” – led by Pianko – as part of its “Fair Wage Summer” campaign.

Proposed class action lawsuits have also been filed against Condé Nast publications, the publisher of several magazines including Gentleman’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and Hearst Magazines, whose publications include Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Harper’s Bazaar magazines.



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