Last year, two interns sued Fox Searchlight over unpaid work on the Oscar-winning film, Black Swan. Alex Footman and Eric Glatt filed their suit asking for back pay and an injunction against the studio for improperly using unpaid interns on future projects. The two claimed that the studio used them to complete petty tasks that did little to educate them in the world of film-making and should have been carried out by paid employees.
Today, Footman and Glatt expanded their legal action to include all internships at parent company Twentieth Century Fox. The studio says it changed its guidelines in July 2010 to ensure all interns get paid $8 an hour, but that doesn’t change the plaintiffs’ attitudes.
The interns’ motion asks a judge to “broaden the scope of the case to include all interns who participated in Fox Entertainment Group’s Internship Program,” citing evidence that “the same hiring, personnel and company polices that applied to Searchlight interns applied to all interns who participated in FEG’s internship program.”
In addition, the motion also seeks to expand the suit to cover production interns who worked on films Fox Searchlight co-produced and corporate interns who worked through Fox’s intern program. Two new plaintiffs, Eden Antalik and Kanene Gratts, hope to add their names to the legal action. Antalik worked through the intern program and Gratts worked on 500 Days of Summer, which was co-produced by Fox Searchlight.
U.S. law states that unpaid interns must gain educational benefit from their work experience and cannot be used to replace regular paid employees. Twentieth Century Fox has not made a public statement about the new motion.
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