Shutterstock finds itself as the defendant in a proposed wage and hour class action filed in California state court.
The lawsuit alleges the digital content platform misclassifies its image reviewers, vector and illustration reviewers, footage reviewers, and similar content checkers as independent contractors. As a result of this misclassification, Shutterstock content reviewers, tasked with combing through content on the site to ensure it’s in line with company guidelines, have been denied proper overtime wages and meal and rest break premiums owed under California law, the complaint claims.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, on a typical day, would review roughly 2,000 images to ensure they meet detailed guidelines specifying, for instance, the number of “characteristics a piece of content may share with protected intellectual property.” Depending on the review, Shutterstock may then determine a piece of content poses a high risk of intellectual property infringement, the suit notes.
The plaintiff argues that at no point in the course of their daily work were Shutterstock content reviewers free from the company’s control and direction, with supervisors continually spot checking the workers while keeping a particular eye on compliance. The suit claims content reviewers regularly put in eight hours per day without time-and-a-half overtime pay during weeks in which they worked upward of 40 hours.
The lawsuit further argues that the defendants violated state law by failing to provide employees with accurate itemized wage statements:
“As a result of [the defendants] misclassifying their Class Members as ‘independent contractors,’ [the defendants] have failed to itemize the total hours worked, overtime hours, and missed meal and rest periods on wage statements furnished to [the plaintiff] and similarly-situated Class Members.”