Intern’s Testimony: The Olsen Sisters Made me Work 50-Hour Weeks without Pay
And you would think the Olsen sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, have it all figured out, as they do own a billion-dollar entertainment empire. But a recent lawsuit claims otherwise.
A class-action lawsuit alleges that the Olsen sisters don’t like to share their wealth with “commoners”. They failed to pay more than 40 interns, some of which worked for them in the past, while some still work for them even now.
The whole case ended up in front of a Manhattan Supreme Court judge.
The lead plaintiff is fashion design intern Shahista Lalani, who claims that she was treated rather poorly and wasn’t paid a dime for her time at Dualstar Entertainment Group, owned by the Olsen twins. For five months, she worked in Manhattan alongside the lead technical designer for The Row, which is the Olsen’s fashion label.
Shahista Lalani recollects “They were very demanding and I was doing the workload of three inters. We were in contact all day, all night. And I would receive e-mails at 10 PM with stuff to do the next day.”
She even claims that the workload took its toll on her and, at one point, she was hospitalized for dehydration.
“It was like 100 degrees outside. I would just be sweating to death and I was probably carrying like 60 pounds worth of trench coats to Row,” Lalani said.
According to court papers, she was working 50-hour weeks and, among other duties, she was running personal errands, sewing, cutting patterns, organizing materials, writing tech sheets and inputting data.
“When there wasn’t any other job to assign us, they would be like, ‘Organize the buttons in the back by color code’ and we would never get a 15-minute break. You just have to go with their crazy flow or the job just eats you up and you work just like any other employee, except you’re not paid for it. I know that everyone tends to be mean to interns, but some literally cried. I saw a lot of kids crying while doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff,” Lalani exposed.
The spokeswoman for the Olsens’ company told the press, “Dualstar was not aware of this,” but she declined to answer any further questions about the firm’s intern policy.
Lalani didn’t work directly with the Olsen twins, but she did see them from time to time at meetings.
“They seem like really nice people,” Lalani shared her first impressions about the Olsens. “They weren’t mean to anyone. They are business people.”
Lalani isn’t the only intern who is forced to seek justice and all of them should be paid the minimum wage plus overtime as they were carrying the same workload as their paid colleagues.