Class Action: Galaxy of Interns Gets a Guardian

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Spiral Galaxy NGC 1376, by flickr user Hubble Heritage, licensed by Creative Commons.

Employment Lawyers, Assemble!

While the stars are aligning for Marvel at the box office, it appears that one former employee is trying to become the First Avenger. Kenneth Jackson, who worked for the company for part of 2008, recently filed a class action lawsuit and is seeking lost wages and back pay. Jackson was reportedly classified as an “intern”, although he worked full 40 hour-per-week shifts Monday through Friday for the better part of 5 months. Along with Mr. Jackson are 100 other Marvel interns seeking compensation. The lawsuit was filed in New York’s Supreme Court.

Marvel is currently reaping massive success over the past few years with blockbuster hits such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, Thor 2: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy. They were also recently purchased by Disney for $4.64 billion, putting an impressive stamp of approval on the already popular brand. Theoretically, Jackson’s employment in the fall of 2008 might have seen him on such projects as Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk. Minimum wage in New York at the time was anywhere between $7.15-$8.75 an hour, which could easily add up for around 100 employees working full time. All math aside, one would imagine Marvel can assemble a team of highly skilled and effective employment lawyers that could rival The Avengers.

Underpaid and unpaid interns is something we have discussed before, as it’s usually a hot-button issue. Larger companies are usually smart enough to make a specific distinction when hiring younger or entry level employees, but there’s bound to be some leakage. Many interns are either working for college credit or are simply looking to improve their resume. My guess is that putting “Marvel” on a resume is an immediate eye-catcher to a potential employer. However, a multi-billion dollar acquisition could also be a red flag to an intern to see if they’re entitled to a piece of the pie. You don’t have to use Spidey-Sense to realize that even a small pay day from this massive company could be Amazing.