LOS ANGELES — A fair of former contractors hired by Netflix to comb through movies and TV shows recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit against the media streaming giant alleging they were misclassified as independent contractors when the nature of their work made them actual employees.
The plaintiffs demand compensation for unpaid overtime, health insurance, and even retirement benefits.
The former binge-watchers were part of a semi-secret operation nicknamed “Project Beetlejuice” where the company paid ordinary people to watch hundreds and thousands of movies and TV shows to pick still images to represent the program. Netflix allegedly hired thousands of these “juicers” to perform the work under rigorous supervision and control.
Netflix has yet to reveal much about its “juicer” program but that may soon change as it faces not one but two separate unpaid wage claims in California Superior Court. The first suit was filed in November 2015 by a Long Beach resident and the other by an L.A. woman in May 2016 who worked full time as a “juicer” from 2011 to 2014. Both seek class action status and could end up costing the company huge sums of money if courts side with the plaintiffs.
Netflix Set Hours, Schedule for Binge Watchers
The complaints allege that since Netflix set the plaintiff’s rate of pay, deadlines, and assignments, the “juicers” were actually employees of the company and not independent contractors. Under state and federal laws, independent contractors must be able to exercise some levels of control over how they perform their duties.
While the employees could set their own work hours, the deadlines and workload effectively created a work schedule, one thing independent contractors are not usually subject to. Netflix countered the suits by asserting its contractors agreed to handle any employment related disputes through arbitration and not the courts.
Netflix is just the latest in a series of massive companies hit with contractor misclassification lawsuits demanding restitution for back wages, overtime, and paid holidays. Companies like Uber and FedEx recently settled massive overtime pay lawsuits with tens of thousands of workers.
California Overtime Lawsuits
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.