Many California readers may be familiar with the Olsen twins from watching them on television when they were young. Now as adults, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have since opened their own manufacturing and licensing business, DualStar Entertainment Group. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the twins by current and former interns who are waging a payment dispute in a state Supreme court.
One of the past unpaid interns claims she worked 50 hours each week for four months. Some of her responsibilities included doing errands for paid employees, sewing, cleaning and data entry. The plaintiff had also worked for the Olsens' fashion label, the Row -- which is under the DualStar parent company -- and had a similar experience.
In that position, her supervisor was allegedly very demanding with the plaintiff, giving her as much work as three interns would have handled. She maintains she was answering emails all throughout the day, including late into the evening while working at the label. One day, while the plaintiff was working outside in 100 degree weather, she stated that she was made to carry a heavy load of apparel and had to be taken to the hospital for dehydration.
The plaintiff further alleges in her payment dispute that when things had slowed down, she was told that she could not take a break and was given mundane tasks to do instead. The interns were apparently doing the same work as the paid employees, but they did not receive minimum wage or overtime. Additionally, the plaintiffs claim that they did not receive college credit hours for their internship. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an internship can be unpaid if it is beneficial to the intern and provides a training environment similar to school. Interns in California and elsewhere who are performing the duties of regular employees should be compensated with the minimum wage or overtime when working over 40 hours per week, and those who are not can consider their options for legal recourse.
Source: inquisitr.com, "Olsen Twins Being Sued By Interns For Long Hours And No Pay", Aug. 11, 2015