French love attracts labour laws

March 2008

Artists, television

Contestants on the French equivalent of Temptation Island, I’lle de la Tentation, have been awarded substantial payouts by the Paris Appeal Court which found their activities on the island were subject to full French Employment laws. Production company Glem, the reality division of broadcaster TF1, had contracted to pay each contestant E1,525 (about £1,200) as an advance payment against Image/merchandising rights. But the court decided that during the twelve day ordeal the contestants were employed as production staff and they worked 24 hors a day, 7 days a week. The French maximum working week is 35 hours and Glem were ordered to pay the three claimant contestants E8,176 in overtime, E817 for holiday pay, E500 for unfair dismissal and E1,500 for wrongful termination of contract with a further E16,000 awarded for illegal employment. Glem had said the contestants were engaged in entertainment, not work. In the UK we have not heard about any claims against the contracts contestants enter into with the producers of programmes like Big Brother and Castaway – but a number of contestants most notably Jade Goody have become national celebrities and have made substantial sums from a variety of new revenues streams after leaving the reality shows including books, magazine features, DVDs and further TV appearances.

The Times 16 February 2008 p9

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