The Intern Uprising Spreads: MTV, Universal Music Group Hit With Class-Action Lawsuits

mtv-inside.jpg

The debate over unpaid internships rages on via two new lawsuits

The legal battle over unpaid interns has opened up a couple of new fronts, with two separate class-action lawsuits filed against Universal Music Group, Sean Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment, MTV and Viacom.

The suits were both filed in U.S. District Court in Southern New York by Lloyd R. Ambinder ad Suzanne B. Leeds of Leeds Brown Law, P.C., and bear similar allegations.

Also read: Intern Lawsuit Against Nicktoons' 'Alien Dawn' Producers Settled

In the suit against MTV and Viacom, which like its counterpart cites the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor law, Casey Ojeda claims to have worked for the defendants from September 2011 to January 2012, typically three days a week for seven or eight hours a day. Ojeda performed tasks such as updating and rebooting the defendants' mobile website, coding, creating weekly spreadsheets and program design, according to the complaint.

Ojeda received no wages in exchange for the work, the suit says.

The second suit, filed against Universal Music Group and Bad Boy Entertainment on Tuesday, alleges that Rashida Salaam toiled for those companies from January to May 2012, working three or four days a wee, from 9 a.m. until 6 or 7 p.m. Despite performing duties including answering phones, copying, filing and scanning documents, Salaam was not paid.

Universal and Viacom have not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.

Also read: Hollywood Intern Lawsuit Panic: Who's Really Paying the Price?

Unpaid internships have become a topic of hot debate — and a growing number of lawsuits — within entertainment and media recently, with companies such as Gawker, Conde Nast, Hearst  and others being dinged with lawsuits.

In December, interns on Charlie Rose's PBS show were awarded more than $207,900. And in May, a judge ruled that two interns on the Fox Searchlight film "Black Swan" were entitled to pay for their work on the movie.

Also read: Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.