40 Interns Sue Olsen Twins, Claim Long Hours, No Pay

Complaint accuses twins' company of wage theft, demanding work conditions
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2015 10:57 AM CDT
40 Interns Sue Olsen Twins, Claim Long Hours, No Pay
In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, Mary-Kate Olsen, left, and Ashley Olsen attend the 2014 World of Children Awards in New York.   (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

Performing menial tasks around the clock for no pay is the main complaint in a class-action lawsuit brought by 40 current and past interns at Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's company, USA Today reports—a working environment in which interns were forced to, as Gothamist frames it, "suffer numerous The Devil Wears Prada-caliber indignities." Among those indignities brought up in the suit against the 29-year-olds' Dualstar Entertainment Group, as told by lead plaintiff Shahista Lalani: working 50-hour weeks "doing the work of three interns," receiving email into the night, and being forced to run errands for paid employees, per Page Six. The suit says interns should have received minimum wage plus overtime for doing the same work as paid workers without receiving so much as academic or vocational credits.

"The head technical designer was like, 'Go get my Advil. I need this and this because I'm feeling sick and I have this meeting," Lalani recalls. "When we weren't doing something, they'd be like, 'Organize the buttons in the back by color code.' … They're kind of mean to you. … I'd see a lot of kids crying doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff." Lalani adds she was even hospitalized for dehydration after one particularly grueling workday, saying, "It was like 100 degrees outside. I'd just be sweating to death. I probably carried like 50 pounds worth of trench coats" to factories for one of the twins' fashion lines. Says a Dualstar rep, via a statement to USA Today: "The allegations in the complaint filed against Dualstar are groundless, and Dualstar will vigorously defend itself against plaintiff's claims in court, not before the media." (Hey, at least Ashley didn't turn out like Britney.)

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