A group of unpaid interns at Hearst Corp. scored a significant procedural victory last Thursday when a federal district court judge in New York conditionally ruled that they may proceed as a class in their wage and hour lawsuit against the publisher.
The Fair Labor Standards Act suit was brought by Xuedan Wang, a former intern at Harper’s Bazaar from last August to December. In her lawsuit, Ms. Wang claims she regularly worked more than 40 hours a week for no pay as an intern and, sometimes, as many as 55 hours a week. She was a head accessories intern at Harper’s Bazaar during that period, according to court filings.
“For now the plaintiff need only establish that other employees ‘may be similarly situated’ to her,” U.S. District Judge Harold Baer ruled.
The proposed class is all persons who worked as unpaid or underpaid interns at Hearst’s magazines between February 1, 2009, and until the case is resolved.
The court found that Ms. Wang, at this point in the case, made sufficient arguments to certify a class. Specifically, she provided affidavits showing that Hearst made a uniform determination that interns weren’t employees, required all interns to submit college credit letters and used interns to perform entry-level work with little supervision, the court held.’
I wrote about this and other suits by interns in an earlier post.