The suit says the workers were not allowed to take breaks for meals or to use the restroom, leaving them to instead use their cars as bathrooms.
“Due to limitations on their ability to leave their assigned locations, many of the plaintiffs are forced to urinate and defecate into bottles and buckets in their vehicles,” the lawsuit says.
As I tweeted the other day, parking PAs are not really a thing in Los Angeles. On occasion, I’ve had to valet at parties in the hills to make ends meet between shows, but I’ve never had to do it while I was on a show. I mean, yeah, someone would ask me to park their car once in a while, but it wasn’t my whole, entire job.
What amazes me is how everyone involved must have stuck to this situation.
INT. PRODUCTION OFFICE – NIGHT
The UPM is hunched over his desk, reviewing hot costs. A nervous PA enters, knocking on the door.
What is it?
Um, hi, boss. Uh... here’s the thing. We haven’t been given any breaks. We didn’t get broken for lunch. We didn’t even get to pee.
The UPM grabs a Perrier bottle off his desk, chugs the remainder, and holds it out across his desk.
Here. Pee in this.
The PA takes it, dubious.
I guess not. See you tomorrow.
Like, how do you come into work the next day after that? “Say Yes” has its limits.
And you know what really grinds my gears?
It wasn’t just one guy who caused this. Several people up and down the chain of command were aware of what these PAs were going through, and not one of them put a stop to it. These kids were working long hours doing the most meaningless task for minimum wage, but that wasn’t enough for these assholes. They had to take their dignity, too.
Side note: one of the movies in question was Noah. During the Black Swan thing, several people brought up Darren Aronofsky, as if the director had any idea what the interns were doing. But this is the second Aronofsky movie in a row that’s been sued. What is going on with his sets?
Anyway, as the headline says, I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if these production assistants have a case. I’m also not from New York, so I don’t know the applicable employment laws.
Also in California, employers are required to give a 30-minute meal break, and a 10-minute paid break for every four hour period. These rules are played fast and loose in the film business. Technically, you’re either supposed to be “relieved of all duties” during lunch, or the lunch break must be paid; neither of these happen in the production office.
As for the ten minute breaks, production is such a hurry-up-and-wait situation, the bosses figure you managed to take your break somewhere in there. But if the PAs are forced to pee in bottles? It’s safe to say they didn’t get their break.
Lastly, were all the PAs dudes? Because I can think of a whole lot of issues that a plastic bottle wouldn’t solve for me…