NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - A former intern for the Wendy Williams Show is suing Lions Gate Entertainment for allegedly misclassifying interns and failing to pay them minimum wages.
Beginning in approximately September 2008, Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation and Debmar-Mercury LLC began to wrongfully classify Anthony Tart and other similarly situated individuals who worked on the Wendy Williams Show as exempt from minimum wages, according to a complaint filed Oct. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Tart claims the defendants have maintained a policy and practice of failing to provide compensation at the statutory minimum wage rate for all hours worked to the putative class.
Tart was hired to work on the Wendy Williams Show from August 2012 through December 2012, according to the suit. He claims the defendants violated New York Labor Laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
"Although the defendants misclassified [Tart] and other members of the putative class as interns, [Tart] is a covered employee within the meaning of the FLSA and NYLL," the complaint states.
Tart claims he and other class members should have received payment because, under Department of Labor regulations, the work they performed did not meet the agency’s standards for unpaid internships.
The work the interns were responsible for included washing dishes, getting coffee, picking up art supplies, stocking printers, throwing out trash and creating a tape library. These duties did not provide interns with any valuable academic or vocational training, which is against the Department of Labor’s standards, according to the suit.
Tart claims the class members will include approximately 100 former and current interns of the Wendy Williams Show.
The defendants failed to pay class members minimum wages for all hours worked and this failure was willful, according to the suit.
Tart is seeking class certification and compensatory damages. He is represented by Alison Genova, Lloyd R. Ambinder and LaDonna Lusher of Virginia & Ambinder LLP; and Jeffrey K. Brown and Daniel Markowitz of Leeds Brown Law PC.
The case is assigned to District Judge Alison J. Nathan.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York case number: 1:14-cv-08004
From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.