Intern Lawsuits Heat Up Just in Time for Summer

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on May 16, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you have not been taking intern lawsuits seriously, you need to. By now you've probably heard about Fox's Black Swan and Heart's intern lawsuits; the appeals of class certifications (granted in the former, and denied in the latter) will be heard by the Second Circuit in tandem.

That's not all. Last month a class of MTV interns was certified and just this week, another intern class was certified, and another intern lawsuit settled -- for the largest amount of money in this type of case to date.

There's even a website devoted to unpaid interns litigation, asking provocatively, "Should you have been paid for your unpaid internship?"

Do we have your attention yet?

MTV Interns

On April 4, District Judge Furman of the Southern District of New York, granted conditional class certification for plaintiffs who were interns at Viacom's MTV Networks. Judge Furman found that the interns made a "modest factual showing" and "sufficient 'generalized proof' that members of the putative collective were 'victims of a common policy to replace paid workers with unpaid interns.'"

Warner Music Interns

On Monday, Judge Paul Gardephe, of the District Court for the Southern District of New York, granted certification for a class action of former Warner Music interns. One of the pieces of evidence that plaintiffs submitted was a Warner Music notice that stated, "Every Intern is assigned a special project that will both assist them in increasing their understanding of how each department operates, and aid the department in addressing a business need."

Judge Gardephe noted that the grant of certification was not a decision on the merits, and the standard to determine whether to send out notices to purported class members is low, reports The Hollywood Reporter. He stated that plaintiffs, for now, have shown that they performed the same work as employees.

Elite Model Management Interns

On Tuesday, Elite Model Management settled a lawsuit with former interns -- now the biggest intern settlement to date, says The Hollywood Reporter. Apparently, Elite did not want to see this class action through and decided to settle and pay from $700 to $1,750 to former interns, totaling $450,000 to about 150 interns, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

So, the question is ... what are you doing to protect your company? To find out more tips on how to avoid summer intern lawsuits, check back with us on Wednesday.

Are you updating your intern policies? Let us know @FindLawLP on Twitter.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard