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Unpaid intern who sued Sony awarded £4,600

The company had argued that Mr Jarvis was a volunteer so did not need to be paid
  • @James_Legge

An intern at Sony has reached a £4,600 settlement with the company after suing for unpaid wages.

Chris Jarvis, 25, worked 9.30am until 6pm for three months at Sony Computer Entertainment - makers of Playstation - in Cambridge last year, commuting three hours a day from his home in Milton Keynes.

Though he had thought he would be shadowing a staff member, he claimed he was working as a tester for company's games' 3-D artwork. According to The Times, he said he “politely informed” his employers that because of his role he was entitled to the national minimum wage.

He said: "I thought they would say they had made an honest mistake.

"If they got someone in to do the job it would have cost £100 a day. But they said that I was a volunteer so not entitled to any pay."

He reported the Japanese company to HM Revenue and Customs, and sued for the unpaid wages. Weeks before a scheduled tribunal, the case was settled and Sony paid Mr Jarvis £4,600 - more than £1,000 extra to his original request. The company asked him to sign a gagging order, which he declined.

Sony argued that Mr Jarvis was a volunteer so did not need to be paid, but Jasmine Patel, who helped Mr Jarvis with his case, said: “If someone is working set hours ... and is adding value to the company so that if they were not doing the task someone else would have to be paid to do it, then it is more likely they will be defined as a worker in law, entitled to be paid.

“Voluntary workers can only be employed unpaid by a charity, a voluntary organisation, an associated fund-raising body or a statutory body. You can be a volunteer worker at a commercial company, but you still qualify for the minimum wage."

Sony declined to comment.