The Hearst Corporation illegally employs hundreds of unpaid interns in violation of federal and state labor laws, Outten & Golden LLP alleged today in a lawsuit filed in New York federal court.
The class action complaint, filed on behalf of a former Harper's Bazaar intern, accuses Hearst of paying interns no compensation for the work they perform, including minimum or overtime wages, and committing recordkeeping violations in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.
Former intern Xuedan Wang, of Brooklyn, N.Y., alleged that she regularly worked more than 40 hours per week, and sometimes as many as 55 hours per week, without compensation while at Harper's Bazaar in 2011.
Adam T. Klein, of Outten & Golden LLP, said, "Unpaid interns are becoming the modern-day equivalent of entry-level employees, except that employers are not paying them for the many hours they work. The practice of classifying employees as 'interns' to avoid paying wages runs afoul of federal and state wage and hour laws."
Elizabeth Wagoner, of Outten & Golden LLP, said, "By failing to treat interns as employees, Hearst has denied them important rights that the wage and hour laws protect, including the right to unemployment insurance, workers' compensation insurance, social security contributions, and, crucially, the right to earn a fair day's wage for a fair day's work."
Outten & Golden will seek to have the lawsuit certified as a class action to recover unpaid wages, overtime pay, liquidated damages, interest and attorneys' fees for unpaid interns who worked for Hearst between February 1, 2006 and the date of a final judgment.
The interns' legal team recently filed another lawsuit on behalf of unpaid interns who worked for Fox Searchlight Pictures, including on the film company's movie productions. That case, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., No. 11 Civ. 6784, is currently pending before Judge William H. Pauley in the Southern District of New York.
The case against Hearst is Xuedan Wang v. The Hearst Corporation, in the Southern District of New York, Class Action Complaint No. 12 Civ. 0793.