‘Alien Dawn’ Intern Files Class Action Suit Against Producers Over Unpaid Work

Alien Dawn Nick Toons

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.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 3

Leave a Reply

3 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Truth says:

    Love all these comments defending the companies and attacking the interns. The companies BROKE THE LAW – they used FREE LABOR when PAID EMPLOYEES should have been utilized.

    If an intern stole equipment, they’d be punished for their actions. Yet when companies steal the “value” from free labor, then all of a sudden the law doesn’t apply and companies are held to a different standard than workers/people/interns.

    If companies are people, then they should be treated like one – brake the law, do the time

  2. Katie says:

    Maybe these “interns” should look up the definition of the word? Many of them know exactly what they are getting themselves into, if not all of them. Not too mention, I’ve seen them first hand all want to do more than the menial tasks most interns are assigned to. This guy is lucky to be involved in the more hands-on production experience he was allowed to do. HE WAS TRAINED. He has knowledge.

    Sheesh, what is it Mr. Lawyers? They want to do menial tasks such as office runs and filing or they want to be involved in the production hands on? The amount of knowledge ALL of these interns receive from just being allowed to step on to a real Hollywood film set, being around a REAL production is invaluable. And each and every one of these interns KNEW exactly what they were getting themselves into when they applied, were interviewed, were told in the interview what they would be doing. They agreed to it.

    The interns do these jobs for their resume and the experience. It is spelled out to them. Many of them BEG for the job. Convince the interviewee how much they want it.

    The lawyers should be ashamed of themselves. They are destroying future employment or experience for any newcomers who are not greedy and who do in fact want to learn. This intern in yet ANOTHER case obviously did learn. He could have quit at any time if he didn’t like it.

    Also, the lawyers for film companies should look into the costs the production has to go into for hiring an intern. The company must have workmen’s comp for interns to be hired for starters and other insurance. There are costs involved in hiring an intern the company has to put out.

    So the big question here on this case, is simple. Did this kid learn something? Answer: Yes, he worked in different depts. Did he agree to do the job? It would appear so, he took it. Did he know someone else would may be paid for what he agreed to, yes, but took it anyway.

    The ridiculous ruling by Judge in Fox case created a bunch of monsters. And also put a lot of kids out of any potential futures in the business or made it much harder for them to be hired.

    Better to just hire someone who ALREADY knows the business at minimum wage then teach anyone knew. And believe me, it is ALL a teaching process from the moment they walk in the office.

  3. Judy Landis says:

    Oh Brother, He accepted the Intern job, so he should stop crying about it. He COULD have quit. He is a grown person.
    Get over it.! Sounds like he set them up.

More Biz News from Variety

Loading