Court battle could spell good news for unpaid interns

Entertainment union BECTU recently helped one of their members to a landmark court victory, which could have wide implications for companies seeking to avoid paying interns. Here’s part of a report from Tribune Magazine in December 2009:

Nicola Vetta’s dispute with London Dreams Motion Pictures, a film company which specialises in “rom-coms”, began as a straightforward breach of contract claim in the county court in respect of the non-payment of expenses.In summer 2008 she was taken on as an unpaid art department assistant on the understanding that she would be reimbursed for production-related expenses – but the company withheld payment so Ms Vetta issued proceedings against them.

Then, on the advice of her trade union BECTU, she issued proceedings at an employment tribunal, arguing that the law gave her a statutory entitlement to be paid the national minimum wage for her work, notwithstanding that the parties had agreed to an expenses only arrangement. At a hearing on November 20, she argued that the expenses only deal breached the statutory framework laid down by the National National minimum wage Act.

Now the tribunal has found in her favour. It took the view that Ms Vetta was, in fact, a worker carrying out work in a personal capacity for an employer and was entitled to the protection conferred by the 1998 Act.

Read the full report by Houman Barekat in Tribune Magazine

This entry was posted in Case studies, Interns in the media, Interns' pay, Unions and interns and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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