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Writers who worked on the E! Network series Fashion Police filed claims with the state of California on Wednesday against Joan Rivers’ production company, Rugby Productions, alleging that they are owned about $400,000 in back wages, according to the Writers Guild of America West.
The latest action comes a week after writers on the show employed by E! filed a similar complaint against the Comcast-owned cable network seeking about $1.1 million in back wages.
The Writers Guild declined to reveal the names of the writers involved. The complaint was filed with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) which operates under California labor law.
“The writers are claiming that Fashion Police violated California laws that require an employer to pay hourly employees their regular wage rate for all time worked in an eight-hour period,” according to a WGAW news release. “The law also requires the payment of overtime for work in excess of eight hours in any workday or 40 hours in any workweek. The DLSE will hold hearings to determine if E! Network and Rugby Productions are liable to the writers for back pay and penalties.”
“Throughout our history, prominent members of the Guild have stood up for their fellow writers to ensure they are treated fairly and compensated properly,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser. “Unfortunately, this has not been the case with Ms. Rivers.”
When the last action was filed, the writers indicated most of what they claim they are owed is for overtime, and that they were paid for the regular hours they worked. At that time, the E! Channel said in a statement: “E! values our Fashion Police writers and we pay them fairly and in full legal compliance.” The latest complaint is for both wages and overtime.
Rivers’ personal manager Larry Thompson said that there was no comment from Rivers or Rugby Productions because “I have not received any complaint. I have not seen anything so we can’t comment. The only thing we’ve read is the press release issued by the Writer’s Guild.”
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