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Former Harper’s Bazaar Intern Sues Hearst Over Unpaid Work

fashionetc.com - Emily Gyben

It’s no secret that unpaid internships are often the first foot in the door in many fashion industry jobs—but one former intern is fighting the status quo.

Xeudan Wang, a former Harper’s Bazaar intern, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Bazaar parent company the Hearst Corporation for violating wage and hour laws, the New York Times reports.

Wang’s lawsuit hopes to create a class action for the issue, which affects hundreds of unpaid interns at Hearst. Wang reportedly worked 40-hour weeks for Bazaar from December 2010 to December 2011 without ever being paid.

“Employers’ failure to compensate interns for their work, and the prevalence of the practice nationwide, curtails opportunities for employment, fosters class divisions between those who can afford to work for no wage and those who cannot, and indirectly contributes to rising unemployment,” the lawsuit states.

According to the United States Labor Department, unpaid internships are lawful as an educational experience—as long as interns aren’t replacing regular, paid employees.