Aug 3 Sirius XM Radio Inc has agreed
to pay up to $1.3 million to settle claims that it violated U.S.
labor laws by not paying interns, making the satellite radio
provider the latest large company to settle such a case.
Sirius said in court papers filed Monday in federal court in
Manhattan that it still believed the unpaid intern program was
legal, but that it would pay the money to more than 1,800 former
interns to avoid costly litigation.
A company representative could not immediately be reached
for further comment. A lawyer for the former interns also could
not immediately be reached for comment.
The plaintiffs, who worked on the Howard Stern Show and
other Sirius projects, claimed they worked up to 40 hours per
week and were not paid, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards
Act and New York state's minimum wage law.
The primary test used by courts in such cases is whether
internships were designed primarily to educate young people in a
particular field, as opposed to companies using unpaid workers
for the same tasks performed by regular employees.
The proposed settlement by Sirius, which must be approved by
a judge, was announced a month after rulings by the 2nd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. In cases against Fox
Searchlight Pictures Inc and The Hearst Corp, the appeals court
said unpaid internships were legal when they were closely tied
to interns' educations.
The Fox case, which was filed in 2013, spurred many similar
lawsuits. Warner Music Group Corp in June agreed to pay more
than $4.2 million to hundreds of interns, following even larger
settlements by Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal, Condé Nast and
The case is Vitetta v. Sirius XM Radio Inc, U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 14-cv-2926.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by