Reality TV Writers Seek Overtime Protections

Reality TV now makes up a large percentage of the shows Americans watch. However, unlike network show where most writers are protected by collective bargaining agreements, many reality TV writers lack these protection. As a result, like most workers, they must rely on federal and state wage and hour laws – such as the right to minimum wage and overtime pay at a rate of 1 and ½ their standard rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in any one work week.

Recently the one group of writers filed a wage and hour lawsuit against the ITV studio, the producer of several reality TV shows accusing it of “stealing” the wages of writers and producers by failing to pay them overtime wages. As explained by a representative, “Companies … simply cannot insist that employees devote every waking moment to the company, month in and month out.”

As Atlanta wage and hour attorneys – we agree. The Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted 75+ years ago to protect against all forms of labor abuses, and requires that employees pay their workers minimum wage and overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half their typical wage for every hour worked in excess of 40 hours in any work week.

The writers and producers allegedly worked 10 hours per day, six to seven days per week for months in a row. According to records, the writers on these shows “worked enormous amount of overtime without any additional overtime” despite federal laws such as the FLSA and similar state law requiring that they do so.

Just last week, the studio agreed to pay began paying all associate producers at the rate of time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

The workers are still seeking additional benefits, such as health insurance, minimum wage provisions, paid time off, and a guaranteed number of days free from work responsibilities.

“These are the kinds of provisions that enable people to earn a reasonable living doing work they care about without sacrificing their health or their families’ well-being,”

If you have questions concerning wage and hour provisions at your workplace, or believe that you have not been compensated for all the time you have worked, please contact the top Georgia wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.