Judge Throws Out Class Action Lawsuit Filed By Hearst Interns Seeking Pay

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May 12, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown

It might have been a long shot of a lawsuit, but former Harper’s Bazaar intern Diana Wang made waves with the class action lawsuit she filed against Hearst last year. In the suit, she claimed her internship was actually an unpaid job. Nearly 3,000 former Hearst interns joined her  suit.

Sadly for those thousands of people, Judge Harold Baer has dismissed the case, but he did say the plaintiffs may file lawsuits individually.  Reuters explains (via New York magazine), “Here, while a close question, the commonality requirement is not satisfied because plaintiffs cannot show anything more than a uniform policy of unpaid internship,” Baer wrote. He noted that the lawsuit  while raising that common issue, also had many dissimilarities, as they worked for different magazines and performed different tasks.

The interns who filed the suit were requesting minimum-wage back-pay from Hearst. Many are questioning the basis of unpaid internships. As we recently reported, some experts say unpaid internships actually hurt the economy because there is a risk of unpaid workers replacing paid workers. As we also reported, Wang isn’t the first intern to sue. “The New York Times gives examples of cases where interns are taking a stand against companies and have gone as far as filing suits for being exploited during an unpaid internship.”

Do you think the plaintiffs would have a better chance on their own?

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  • Kenedy

    Unpaid internships are modern day slavery….work for no pay, right? The difference is, unlike slaves, interns are thousands of dollars in student loan debt