Madison Square Garden Intern Lawsuit Could Create Disastrous Precedent For Sports Industry

Madison Square Garden (MSG) has become the latest company to be targeted in a class action by former interns. Unpaid MSG interns are claiming they were wrongly classified to avoid being paid. The lawsuit claims that MSG used titles such as “intern” or “student associate” when hiring college students to do work which would otherwise qualify them as employees. The class action is estimated to include more than 500 individuals. It has been alleged that these so called interns were asked to work as many as five days a week. They helped support MSG ticket and sponsorship sales, administrative projects and logistics pertaining to the organization of sports and entertainment events at the arena, all tasks that would have been performed by an employee. The suit is seeking damages to cover unpaid wages for misclassified workers stemming back to 2007. Full article.

A six-part test outlined by the Labor Department for determining whether an internship can be unpaid has been used to determine whether an unpaid internship is legal. The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

    1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
    2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
    3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
    4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
    5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
    6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Leeds Brown Law PC dedicates a large portion of its practice to the area of employment discrimination. If you worked as an unpaid intern and you believe your rights have been violated, it is important to contact an experienced attorney immediately to preserve your rights. The firm has represented individuals throughout Long Island and the New York City area in matters of wage and hour law. For more information, contact Leeds Brown Law at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation or visit