Insomniac and Live Nation to face volunteer lawsuit in demand of fair pay
Pioneering production company Insomniac, responsible for the likes of the Electric Daisy Carnival series, Electric Forest, Nocturnal Wonderland and many more, is set to face a brewing legal conflict. It may come as a surprise that the challenge has been put forth by none other than previous attendees and music fanatics: A class action lawsuit has been filed against both Insomniac and partner Live Nation in regards to claims from previous volunteers who were brought in to work at Insomniac’s various music festivals in exchange for admission to the show. ClassAction.org reports that “according to the suit, the companies recruited volunteers to carry out the work of paid employees at on-site general stores, merchandise tents, water stations and information booths, but failed to pay these “volunteers” for their time.”
Insomniac’s festival volunteers are recruited through a self-submission process and selected based on applications. Volunteers are required to put down a returnable downpayment – a fee nearly equivalent to their selected festival fare in order to ensure that the volunteer fulfills designated working hours and does not misbehave while on duty.
Though the deal seems clear, the Insomniac v. Volunteers lawsuit argues that the arrangement violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which states that an individual’s time spent working must receive a compensation of no less than the federal minimum wage. The lawsuit continues to claim that the dance music company took advantage of music lovers’ eagerness through their admission for labor agreement, going further to explain that volunteers were originally recruited and informed that they would receive amenities including food, water, free time to enjoy the show along with ‘internship-quality training,’ but instead were forced to work 12 to 14 hour shifts with little if any time to partake in the festival. The plaintiff explained her experience as “highly overstated and essentially worthless,” where instead of quality work experience, she was only able and instructed to perform general customer service and shop-keeping duties.
Further on in the plaintiff’s defense, the suit argues that because Insomniac is a for-profit company with reported million dollar earnings, Federal labor laws outlining the definition of a “volunteer” have been violated – specifically “that employees cannot volunteer services to for-profit, private sector employers.”
The lawsuit remains open, and Insomniac and Live Nation have yet to release a public statement or response in regards to the situation. Stay tuned for more details.
Photo courtesy of Insomniac and Soodyod.