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Oscar Season Casts Spotlight on Film, TV Crew Wage Issues

Ivy Kagan Bierman, chair of Loeb & Loeb's Entertainment Labor practice, is quoted in a Law360 article discussing how film and entertainment workers with jobs such as production supervisors and production assistants are demanding better pay and calling for an end to what they believe are misclassification practices and other wage and hour issues.

"We see individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits alleging that individuals have been misclassified as independent contractors and that they are owed overtime as well as other compensation that they might be owed as an employee," Ivy told the publication.

One misclassification claim that employees have made is that employers incorrectly considered them exempt from overtime pay through carveouts in state and federal labor laws for workers who make above a certain salary threshold and use independent discretion. Workers have pointed out that even if they met the salary threshold for the exemption, their jobs did not involve independent discretion.

"That is the next area where we sometimes see individual lawsuits and class actions," Ivy said. "Just like someone could be misclassified as an independent contractor when they should be an employee, someone could be misclassified as exempt when they should be nonexempt."

Ivy noted that businesses should seek advice on classification matters in order to avoid misclassification claims.

"One of the things I always encourage them to do is to talk with me and my colleagues about, how are you classifying individuals?" she said. "I really make it very clear to them that if you misclassify individuals as independent contractors or as exempt, you could face pretty substantial individual lawsuits and class action lawsuits."

Click here to read the full article on Law360 (subscription required).