The Fashion Law Exclusive - Another former intern has come forward alleging federal and state labor law violations, and this time the target is Elite Model Management. Former unpaid intern, 22-year old, Dajia Davenport, filed a labor and wage-related lawsuit last week in the Southern District of New York court. On Friday, Davenport filed a $50 million class action suit in a New York federal court alleging that Elite violated New York state Labor Law and the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying their interns. NYC-based Davenport alleges in her complaint that "penny pinching" Elite forces its interns to work more than 40 hours a week, including weekends, all while "deliberately misclassifying its interns as exempt from wage requirements."
According to Davenport, she has also interned for Vogue (as an accessories intern for four months in 2010), Atlantic Records (where she was a marketing intern for over a year), and Thomas Fiason Agency (where she currently serves as an assistant wardrobe stylist). These companies were not named in Davenport's lawsuit. If this suit sounds familiar, that's because it comes on the heels of two major intern class actions, one against Fox Entertainment Group and the other against Hearst Corporation. Both suits are still pending in NYC courts.
According to Davenport's LinkedIn (because yes, she lists the Elite internship on her resume), she was a New Faces Development Intern at Elite from July to September 2010, and she claims her duties (which seem pretty standard) included ... "Assisting Bookers with scouting new talent at open calls; Assisting with product management and development including data entry, scheduling and image maintenance; Providing administrative support for Marketing/Booking/Scouting Departments; Issued follow-up for bookings and referrals, thank you letters, phone calls, and client feedback; Initiated new contacts and cultivated business relationships; Answered phone calls, greeted clients, and scheduled appointments; Assisted with purchasing of processed client orders; Assisting all Agents and Bookers; Performing general office duties: processing shipments, ordering promo product & office supplies."