Updated 04:29 AM EDT, Mon, Jun 14, 2021

Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen's Company vs Former Intern: What Really Happened?

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Most people understand that an internship means having to work without getting paid, but former design intern for Dualstar Entertainment Group, Shahista Lalani, seems to have a different idea.

The company owned by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen is currently being put under the microscope for their internship policies following the complaint. According to Page Six, the company is facing a class-action lawsuit from approximately 40 past and present interns saying that they suffered wage theft.

The lead plaintiff, Lalani, claimed that during her internship in 2012, she was "doing the work of three interns" and that she's talking to her boss "all day, all night." She also asserted that she is answering emails at night for the next day, sometimes at 10 PM.

She also said that she have put in 50-hour weeks, her work including "inputting data into spreadsheets, making tech sheets, running personal errands for paid employees, organizing materials, photocopying, sewing, pattern cutting, among other related duties."

The class action suit, which is backed by 40 current and former interns showed that Lalani is not alone in the matter, and that like Lalani, they believe that they should have been paid minimum wage plus overtime because they were doing the same jobs as paid colleagues, without receiving academic or vocational credit.

Dualstar, however, denied such allegations. In a statement, the company said, "As an initial matter, Dualstar is an organization that is committed to treating all individuals fairly and in accordance with all applicable laws. 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."

The company is also confident that they are within the laws as to their treatment of interns, adding, that "Dualstar is confident that once the true facts of this case are revealed, the lawsuit will be dismissed in its entirety."

USA Today reported that under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, internships for companies can be unpaid if the internship is "for the benefit of the intern" and "similar to training which would be given in an educational environment."

This is not the first lawsuit regarding internship dueties. In a 2011 case, two interns on the production of "Black Swan" sued Fox Searchlight Pictures for having them perform administrative duties such as taking lunch orders, answering phones and taking out the trash, among others.

When Judge William H. Pauley III ruled in their favor, unpaid interns from different groups hit back at media and entertainment companies, with Dualstar appearing the latest to see such lawsuit.

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