Miramax Pays Overtime Wages Amid Labor Probe
Maverick film distributor Miramax has paid more than $80,000 in overtime due 136 employees amid an ongoing Labor Department investigation, officials confirmed Wednesday.
The voluntary action was first reported in Wednesday’s New York Observer, which said that the Labor Department began looking at the overtime practices of the New York-based movie distributor last July. The weekly newspaper added that current and former Miramax employees have received checks ranging from $50 to as much as $2,000.
A separate Labor Department document obtained by The Times refers to the action as stemming from a “self-audit” by Miramax covering the period from July 1995 to July 1997, which “revealed that employees did not receive proper overtime payment for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.”
A Labor Department official emphasized that the case is still open, and that officials “are still investigating employee allegations of unpaid overtime.”
In a statement, Miramax, a unit of Walt Disney Co., said that there have been no formal proceedings or actions taken against the company by Labor Department officials, and that the company has paid the money voluntarily. Miramax added that the agency “asked for certain information and Miramax provided all information that they requested.”
In the statement, Miramax suggested that the problem was caused by its rapid growth in recent years, which came amid the success of such films as “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” the two “Scream” films and “Good Will Hunting.”
Miramax was founded by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who named the firm after their parents, Miriam and Max. They have long had a reputation for running a lean operation, with employees putting in long hours. Miramax has maintained that although it works its employees hard, it rewards them well and has a good track record of promoting from within.