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Fox Proposes Settlement for Unpaid Internship Class Action Lawsuit
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Summary: Fox has proposed a settlement to pay its former unpaid interns in California and New York. 

After five years, Fox has finally proposed a settlement with its former unpaid interns. In court papers filed Tuesday, Fox has agreed to reimburse unpaid internships across its film, TV, and digital divisions. While each plaintiff may not have received a whopping payout, their lawsuit did shine a spotlight on the legality and ethics of unpaid internships in entertainment.

  
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The lawsuit was filed by Alex Footman and Eric Glatt. The two men worked as unpaid interns on Fox Searchlight’s movie Black Swan, and they stated that they were given job responsibilities typical of paid employees. They said their work was non-educational and to the employer’s benefit, i.e. getting coffee and the like. Their lawsuit alleged unpaid internships violated minimum wage and overtime rules in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Fox responded that the claim was “meritless.”

Footman and Glatt’s Black Swan lawsuit expanded when interns from 500 Days of Summer and the Fox Entertainment Group internship program came on board. In June 2013, the plaintiffs won their case, causing unpaid internship reform and opening the door for similar class action lawsuits against Viacom and NBCUniversal.

However, it appeared things were swinging in Fox’s favor in July 2015. An appeals court judge said that the courts should pay less attention to the Labor Department’s six criteria and more attention to whether interns get credit and whether the internships accommodate the students’ school schedule. 2nd Circuit Judge John Walker said he overall agreed that an internship needed to benefit the intern and not the employer.

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The case then moved back to a New York federal court, but instead of letting this matter continue to drag on, Fox proposed a settlement that covers unpaid internships in 2010 at Fox Entertainment Group, Fox Filmed Entertainment, Fox Networks Group, and Fox Interactive Media. It also covers interns who worked in New York between 2005 and 2010 and in California between 2009 and 2010.

If a judge approves of the settlement, each intern will receive $495. Glatt, Footman, and Antalik will receive $7,500, $6,000, and $3,500, respectively. The plaintiffs’ law firm Outten & Golden may receive approximately $200,000 in fees.



What do you think about unpaid internships and this case? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Photo courtesy of Youtube



 

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