Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to Pay Up to $140,000 to Interns in Class-Action Lawsuit Settlement

In 2015, about 40 present and past interns for the twins' company alleged they were either unpaid or paid less than the minimum wage after working extended hours

By Corinne Heller Mar 09, 2017 10:00 PMTags
Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen247PAPS.TV/Splash News

Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen have settled a class-action lawsuit interns brought against them and have agreed to pay out up to $140,000.

The sum is a drop in the bucket for the Full House stars and fashion designers, who are believed to be worth $300 million, mostly due to their luxury label The Row.

In 2015, about 40 present and past interns for Dualstar Entertainment Group, which released the Olsens' film New York Minute and other movies and also provides their fashion apparel, brought a class-action lawsuit against the company at a New York Supreme Court. They alleged they were either unpaid or paid less than the minimum wage after working extended hours. 

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Since then, about 180 present and past interns are believed to be eligible for a payout. Under the terms of the lawsuit's settlement, the Olsen twins' company has agreed to pay every claimant who applies and qualifies for compensation $530, according to a preliminary statement released last week. A judge has yet to sign off on the sum.

The "proposed settlement was reached only after protracted, arm's-length negotiations between the parties and their experienced counsel, who considered the advantages and disadvantages of continued litigation," according to court documents obtained by E! News.

A leading plaintiff in the lawsuit, a former design intern and Parsons School of Design grad, had claimed that in 2012, she was "doing the work of three interns." She said she was talking to her boss "all day, all night. E-mails at nighttime for the next day, like 10 p.m. at night."

She also said she worked 50 hours a week "inputting data into spreadsheets, making tech sheets, running personal errands for paid employees, organizing materials, photocopying, sewing, pattern cutting, among other related duties."

The Olsen twins' company said at the time that the allegations in the lawsuit were "groundless" and that the group was "committed to treating all individuals fairly and in accordance with all applicable laws."