Wendy Williams is back in the legal hot seat as some of the former interns from her talk show are suing her for short-changing them.
A man named Anthony Tart, who was one such intern, has filed 12-page complaint against “The Wendy Williams Show,” Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury, claiming that he and more than 100 other interns were illegally classified as minimum wage-exempt workers for the chat show.
According to The Wrap, this is actually a violation of state and federal laws in New York. Deadline.com reports, however, that a potential class-action suit filed in federal court last week claims that this has been a common policy on “The Wendy Williams Show” since 2008 so that the company could minimize labor costs.
Generally unpaid internships claim that they pay in invaluable experience in the field of your choosing. The complaint states that Anthony got virtually no “educational or vocational training” while doing work that full-time employees would normally handle, but he was doing it for free.
“Tart was hired by Defendants in or about August 2012 and performed various tasks including, but not limited to, washing dishes, getting coffee, picking up art supplies, stocking printers, throwing out garbage, and creating a tape library,” court documents state. Anthony is now seeking an undisclosed amount, to be determined by a judge at trial, for the work he did between August and September 2012. He worked there two days every week in that time.
Reps for the show have opted not to comment on the legal matter at this time, but Wendy’s no stranger to being sued by her former employees.
In 2008, a woman named Nicole Spence filed suit against the talk show host and her husband, Kevin Hunter. The publicist claimed that Kevin had dominated her workplace and sexually harassed her through repeated propositions. That’s not even mentioning the alleged verbal and physical abuse she claims to have suffered.
Sad to say, but Wendy’s productions do not have the most pristine track record on the treatment of their work force. Sadly the idea of internships do lend themselves to questionable labor practices.