It’s been a year and a half since a class-action lawsuit was filed against Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s company, Dualstar Entertainment Group, by a group of its interns claiming they completed overtime hours for no compensation or college credit. And now the company just proposed to settle the case — by paying the interns up to $140,000.
According to the AP, last week attorneys for a former intern proposed in the settlement that each of the 185 members of the lawsuit would receive $530. And according to the filing, Dualstar didn’t oppose the settlement.
The next step in this process is for a judge to approve the settlement.
When the lawsuit was initially filed in August 2015, Dualstar released a statement to PEOPLE. “As an initial matter, Dualstar is an organization that is committed to treating all individuals fairly and in accordance with all applicable laws,” the company told PEOPLE. “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. Dualstar is confident that once the true facts of this case are revealed, the lawsuit will be dismissed in its entirety.”
Former design intern for The Row, Shahista Lalani, is the lead plaintiff and spoke to Page Six in 2015 about her experience at the company. It was reported that Lalani was treated poorly, worked for free and had to be hospitalized for dehydration due to demanding work conditions.
“I was doing the work of three interns,” Lalani told Page Six. “I was talking to her all day, all night. E-mails at nighttime for the next day, like 10 p.m. at night.”
Lalani also shared that some interns were reduced to tears. “You’re like an employee, except you’re not getting paid. They’re kind of mean to you. Other interns have cried. I’d see a lot of kids crying doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff.”
Dualstar denied those accusations in 2015 saying that any “claim of failing to provide compensation at the statutory minimum wage rate for all hours workers” is untrue.
It also said that Lalani is an “inadequate class representative” and that “at no time did Dualstar act in a willful, wanton, reckless and/or malicious manner.”
What do you think of the proposed settlement?