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To most people, the idea of a full-time job that consists of watching Netflix all day sounds like heaven. Surprisingly, this is a real occupation; but two former employees didn’t find it to be their dream career - they’re suing the company over unfair working conditions.
Netflix runs a secret program called, for some reason, “Project Beetlejuice.” Those who take part – called “juicers” – are paid $10 for every movie or show they watch. But their job doesn’t involve just viewing Netflix’s content; they have to pick out the still images and videos that best represent the titles.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is facing two putative class action lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court. The first was filed in November by Long Beach resident Lawrence Moss, the second was filed in May by L.A. resident Cigdem Akbay.
The pair claim that members of Project Beetlejuice are being misclassified as contractors instead of employees, allowing the company to avoid providing employee benefits such as overtime, paid vacations, holidays, and a 401(k) plan. They also say the $10-per-program fee isn’t high enough.
Both Moss and Akbay claim they worked closely with Netflix management and often spent more than 40 hours a week on their jobs. Akbay says that despite theoretically being able to set her own hours (juicers work from home), the deadlines imposed on her by Netflix “imposed a rigid work schedule.” She added that once she told the company Project Beetlejuice had become her full-time occupation, she was fired.
A number of companies are facing lawsuits alleging that they misclassify employees, the most high-profile case being Uber’s. The ride-hailing firm recently agreed to a $100 million settlement in a pair of class-action suits, yet it continues to classify drivers as contractors.
Netflix said it doesn't comment on active litigation.