Fox’s Modern Family Cast Files Employment Lawsuit

09/30/2012 // Los Angeles, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Los Angeles lawyer Eric Grover // (press release)

Los Angeles, CA — The cast of 20th Century Fox Television’s hit comedy, “Modern Family,” filed suit against the show’s producers in an employment lawsuit alleging state labor laws were violated. A number of the TV show’s cast members filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, but have since struck a deal with the network, reports Eric Grover, a Los Angeles employment attorney at Keller Grover LLP.

Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet had asserted that their employment agreements capped their pay and limited their outside work from the television show in violation of state labor laws for performing services that last more than seven years, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Vergara’s original contract also limited per-episode compensation increases each year to 5 percent, while Tyler Ferguson, Stonestreet, Burrell and Bowen were each limited to 4 percent increases annually, the lawsuit revealed.

The contracts also prohibited the actors from obtaining outside roles without Fox’s permission, which the actors argued restricted their opportunities for additional employment. The plaintiffs were seeking to void their contracts.

But, just days after filing the suit, 20th Century Fox struck an undisclosed deal with the actor plaintiffs. Although the details of the settlement are under wraps, the plaintiffs were seeking a payday of $200,000 per episode next season, with significant annual increases in return for agreeing to extend their contracts, KTLA reports.

In addition, the cast agreed to extend their deals by one more season to eight total seasons, with the result that their last season salaries would top $300,000 per episode.

The lawsuit has since been withdrawn.

“Even Hollywood performers are not immune to unfair business practices, such as those alleged in the lawsuit,” says Eric Grover, a Los Angeles employment lawyer. “It’s important for everyone to keep in mind that labor violations can occur in any field—even on the small screen where the pay scale can be quite high.”

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