I’ve been an intern before, but thankfully, I’ve been paid for my work. However, as a freelancer, I’ve seen many “job opportunities” and “internships” that offer no pay whatsoever. That’s a travesty. So, since I’m used to seeing such listings, I feel heavily for the “Saturday Night Live” and MSNBC interns and I hope they win their case.
So what’s the case? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jesse Moore and Monet Eliastam are suing NBCUniversal for unpaid or underpaid wages for their time. Moore said he worked 24-hour-or-more weeks in the booking department at MSNBC in 2011 and Eliastam said she worked 25-or-more hour weeks as part of the “Saturday Night Live” staff in 2012.
They are being represented by the same law firm that won the “Black Swan” intern lawsuit, Outten & Golden. The suit states that “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.” The plaintiffs believe the sum that they are suing for equals over $5 million.
“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 labor costs,” said Justin Schwartz, the plaintiff’s attorney. “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.”
You can read more about this case at The Hollywood Reporter. I hope they win, because not paying for work is underhanded and illegal (at least in my view as a worker, anyway).