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OFF BEAT: Unhappy reviewer sues Yelp for unpaid wages

Posted On: Oct. 29, 2013 12:00 AM CST

The brouhaha over unpaid interns has now spread to Yelp Inc., the company that operates websites that rates and features opinions about businesses.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District in Los Angeles that seeks class action status charges the San Francisco-based company with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by refusing to pay its reviewers wages. These reviewers are employees, charges the lawsuit, which was filed last week.

“The misclassification of employees as something other than employees, whether they go by such monikers as volunteers, independent contractors, interns, contributors, freelance writers, reviewers, elites or Yelpers, presents a serious problem for affected employees, employers and the entire economy,” says the lawsuit.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Houston resident Dr. Allen Panzer, has written about 70 reviews for Yelp since November 2007, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks unpaid wages, expenditure reimbursement, liquidated and statutory damage and, of course, attorneys fees.