An intern for on Nickelodeon’s “Alien Dawn” filed a class action lawsuit against producers of the series, claiming that he performed tasks such as moving props and equipment, costuming characters, disposing of garbage and appearing as an extra without pay.
In his suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Thursday, Kevin Hicks claims that he performed work that otherwise would have been done by a paid an employee, displacing wage-making workers. The suit claims violations of state and federal labor laws, and seeks unpaid wages.
The litigation is the latest suit filed in the wake of a federal judge’s decision earlier this month that Fox Searchlight violated minimum wage laws by not paying two interns on the movie “Black Swan.” The judge in the case, William H. Pauley, said that the two interns got little educational benefit from their work and performed “low level tasks not requiring special training.” “The benefits they may have received — such as knowledge of how a production or accounting office functions or references for future jobs — are the results of simply having worked as any other employee works, not of internships designed to be uniquely educational to the interns and of little utility to the employer.” Fox Searchlight is appealing the ruling.
Hicks claims that, while interning from Feb. 7, 2012, to Feb. 20, 2013, he typically put in 10 to 12 hours per day, but sometimes worked as many as 16 hours per day. He was briefly paid for his work as a wardrobe assistant, collecting $319 and reported on a W-2 form, the suit states, but he “did many of the same tasks as a paid wardrobe assistant as [he] did as an unpaid production intern.”
His suit names Crook Bros. Prods. and Larry Schwarz Media Group, the producers and companies behind the series, as well as Laurence Schwarz, Jeff Crook and Josh Crook. They did not immediately return a request for comment.
The litigation was filed by Maurice Pianko, who is specializing in intern lawsuits via InternJustice.com, as well as Jesse Strauss of StraussLaw.
Nickelodeon was not named in the suit.