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Reality check: TV producers face overtime claims

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

Several workers from popular reality television shows have filed wage-and-hour claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, according to the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW).

The workers—who helped put on the air such shows as “American Idol,” “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” and “American Inventor”—claim that producers of those shows owe them more than $500,000 in overtime compensation.

According to the WGAW, the workers (most of whom worked for FremantleMedia, an international conglomerate that produces “American Idol”) include writers, production assistants, contestant coordinators, craft service personnel and office workers.

The WGAW, which has been trying to organize reality show employees for several years, claimed that the workers regularly work more than 40 hours per week without receiving overtime or being allowed to take proper breaks.

Final note: Overtime lawsuits are on the upswing, coinciding with unions’ efforts to grow their membership rolls. Also contributing to the overtime litigation boom: the rough economy and the higher prices employees have to pay on everything from health care to gas and groceries. Together, the trends may spell big trouble for employers as unions target unhappy workers for membership and help employees file labor complaints.

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