Apple Studios Hit With Class Action Over Allegedly Shortchanging Background Actors On ‘Palm Royale’

Apple Studios is facing a lawsuit accusing it of violating a series of California labor laws on the set of Palm Royale.

Daniel Ferguson, in a proposed class action filed on May 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims the studio stiffed him and other background actors on pay, “maintained a policy and practice of not paying” them for all of the hours they worked and refused to provide legally-mandated meal breaks.

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According to the complaint, Ferguson worked for Apple Studios, which didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, in Los Angeles for four months in 2022 during the production of Palm Royale. The satire, starring Kristen Wiig, Laura Dern and Ricky Martin, centers on a former pageant queen who tries to break into the upper echelons of high society in late 1960s Florida.

The lawsuit details claims that Apple Studios didn’t properly calculate the pay of background actors and engaged in other violations of state labor law.

The studio “failed to pay for all hours worked (including minimum, straight time, and overtime wages), failed to provide Plaintiff with legally compliant meal periods, failed to authorize and permit Plaintiff to take rest periods, failed to timely pay all final wages to Plaintiff when Defendants terminated her employment, failed to furnish accurate wage statements to Plaintiff, and failed to indemnify Plaintiff for expenditures,” the complaint states.

Ferguson alleges that background actors were required to work through unpaid meal breaks, as well as “before clocking in and after clocking out for the workday.”

Instead of providing a legally-mandated 30 minute meal period, or compensate background actors for breaks that weren’t provided, Apple Studios “continued to assert control over” them by “requiring, pressuring, or encouraging them to perform work tasks which could not be completed without working in lieu of taking mandatory meal period.”

The lawsuit claims some of the work should’ve been paid at the overtime rate. It also alleges that final paychecks for terminated employees weren’t properly calculated.

The proposed class action brings claims for unfair competition, failure to pay minimum and overtime wages and failure to provide meal periods, among several others.

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