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Talent agency entangled in labor dispute

Entertainers are entitled to the same benefits as other workers. Employers and employees need to keep this in mind in the event labor disputes arise.

One talent agency is facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly failing to provide crew members overtime compensation. The crew members were responsible for managing the delivery of supplies. They also provided support to a variety of contractors and vendors while also assisting in the setting up of furniture and barricades. The class in this lawsuit seeks damages from the talent agency for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and state labor laws.

One of the co-workers provided these services for six weeks every year for the past eight years. While he was to receive wages of $30 per hour, he did not receive overtime for those weeks when he worked in excess of 40 hours. He states he “regularly worked over 100 hours per week without ever receiving premium overtime pay.”

Like other businesses, talent agencies need to take into account federal and state laws when negotiating entertainment contracts with crews and staff. It’s important that all parties to such contracts understand their rights and obligations under the contract. Failure to set terms that all parties agree upon often results in litigation like the one mentioned above. It also results in crew members going on strike or walking out on productions ending in costly cancellations or delays.

Consultation with experienced entertainment attorneys minimizes disputes and legal wrangling. Attorneys can educate talent agencies regarding the legal process and make certain all productions go smoothly.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Fashion Week Crew Sues for Unpaid Overtime,” Jeff D. Gorman, March 25, 2015

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