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'American Idol' producers sued over alleged workplace violations

By Chris Rizo | Mar 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-A group of former employees have filed a class action lawsuit against "American Idol" producer FremantleMedia North America.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County, claims that the London-based company flouted California labor laws by failing to pay workers required overtime, falsifying time sheets and denying workers their rest and meal periods.

"There's no Hollywood glamor for the below-the-line people who work on 'American Idol' and other reality shows who are grossly underpaid, worked 24/7 and receive no rest or meal breaks and no health coverage -- contrary to California labor laws," said plaintiffs' attorney Jonathan Biddle.

The lawsuit is similar to a complaint filed by writers in conjunction with the Writers Guild of America that was settled recently for $4 million.

"For each reality television series subject to this suit, defendants hired plaintiffs based on a flat weekly or daily pay rate," the suit reads. "Plaintiffs were required to falsify their time cards ... worked in excess of 40 hours per week during virtually every week of their employment, but they never received any premium overtime play ... plaintiffs were routinely denied appropriate meal and rest periods as required."

The lawsuit was filed by workers on shows including "American Idol," the syndicated game show "Temptation," Oxygen's "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" and Fox's "Osbournes: Reloaded."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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