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Paramount sued by production assistants over wages, bathroom breaks

Production assistant is hardly the most glamorous job the movie business has to offer, but a group of workers says a major Hollywood studio has pushed too far.

Los Angeles-based Paramount Pictures and a group of production companies were recently hit with a lawsuit filed on behalf of four assistants who say they were not paid minimum wage or overtime despite working "round-the-clock."

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The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, also 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.

Paramount, which is owned by New York-based media giant Viacom Inc., declined to comment. 

The workers acted as parking production assistants to keep filming sites clear of pedestrians and cars, and to protect the production vehicles and equipment on set, according to the suit.

The assistants, who live in New York, worked during the production of big-budget movies such as "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Noah," the complaint says.

Paramount and the other defendants paid the workers $140 to $160 for each 12-hour shift, the suit says. However, the plaintiffs routinely worked 60 to 100 hours a week without receiving overtime compensation, according to the complaint.  

The suit is seeking class-action status and is demanding unspecified damages including unpaid wages, penalties and attorneys' fees. 

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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