Warner Music to pay $4.2 million to end intern wage lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warner Music Group Corp has agreed to pay hundreds of former interns more than $4.2 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of underpaying them.

The headquarters of Warner Music Group is pictured in Burbank, California August 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

The settlement, disclosed in papers filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, is the latest in a series struck by media and entertainment companies over claims they paid interns little or nothing for their work.

Warner Music in a statement said it was pleased to settle.

“We continue to stand by our internship program as an invaluable educational experience for students looking to obtain hands-on, real-world training,” it said.

The settlement requires court approval, and covers interns who were paid nothing or less than minimum wage, in periods dating as far back as June 2007 for those working in New York.

Warner Music, owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, reserved the right to terminate the settlement if the number of claimants exceeds 1,135, according to court papers.

Lawyers for the interns may seek up to 18.6 percent of the settlement amount as attorney fees, or $787,500. They did not respond to a request for comment.

Many lawsuits over intern pay were filed after a major June 2013 decision in which U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan said Twenty-First Century Fox Inc FOXA.O should have paid two interns who worked on the 2010 movie "Black Swan."

Other companies to settle with interns include Comcast Corp's CMSCA.O NBCUniversal, for $6.4 million; Condé Nast, for $5.85 million, and Viacom Inc VIAB.O, for $7.21 million.

The case is Grant v. Warner Music Group Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-04449.