Music Industry’s First Intern Pay Suit Filed Against Warner Music, Atlantic Records

By Leeds Brown Law | June 18, 2013

Jeffrey K. Brown, senior partner of Leeds Brown Law P.C., Maurice S. Pianko, founder of New York-based Intern Justice, and Lloyd Ambinder, managing partner of New York-based Virginia & Ambinder LLP, have filed a lawsuit in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of Justin Henry, of Brooklyn, a former unpaid intern at Atlantic Records. The lawsuit against the legendary record company claims the company required Henry to work full-time over eight months without pay, often 10 hours a day, according to a proposed class-action law suit. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law, unpaid internships must exist for training purposes and employers may derive “no immediate advantage” from the work provided by interns.

Henry’s lawyers contend that Henry’s internship existed solely for the benefit of Atlantic Records, and that Henry received no training or mentorship. Attorney Jeffrey K. Brown stated “unpaid interns are ’employees’ under New York labor law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and they are eligible to sue for unpaid wages going back six years.” Lenard Leeds, also a partner in Leeds Brown, said “There is no doubt that Justin Henry performed valuable services while he was at Atlantic Records, and we think he deserves to be paid for providing these services. We are confident that a jury will agree.” Henry is seeking to recover unpaid minimum wages and overtime, as well as attorney’s fees. Full article.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York wage and hour laws were enacted to address these injustices. The laws protect employees and ensure they are paid proper wages and properly compensated for working overtime. Under federal law, employers are required to pay employees 1 ½ times their regular hourly wage when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The minimum wage in New York State is $7.25 per hour. Every worker has a right to earn at least the minimum wage. People in the hospitality industry who earn at least $2.25 per hour in tips may receive a minimum wage rate of $5.00 per hour. Different rates exist for other types of service employees. A set of regulations called a “Wage Order” specifies these rates. The Wage Order addresses the unique aspects of each industry or occupation. New York Department of Labor.

Leeds Brown Law PC dedicates a large portion of its practice to the area of employment discrimination. 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

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