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Former Intern Sues Harper's Bazaar For Not Paying Her

Filed under: Legal MattersMedia Minute

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A former Harper's Bazaar intern is suing the Hearst Corporation for not paying her a damn thing during a year-long internship.

Xuedan Wang, an Ohio State graduate, 'terned for the magazine from December 2010 to December 2011 anywhere between 40-55 hours a week coordinating sample pickups and returns, maintaining records and processing reimbursements requests from expense reports.

The lawsuit claims:

"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 court docs also insinuate Hearst's unpaid internship program violates the United States Labor Department's guidelines which states:

"Unpaid internships are only lawful in the context of an educational training program, when the interns do not displace regular employees and the employer derives no immediate advantage from the intern’s work."

Harper's Bazaar definitely should have compensated her because she was pretty much a full time employee, BUT didn't she know going into this she wasn't going to be paid? So why did suffer through a whole year?

Sure, she could probably argue that she thought Harper's Bazaar would hire her, but most companies usually say employment isn't guaranteed once the internship is over.

It's an effed up situation, but it kinda sounds like both parties are at fault and they don't want to take responsibility.

What are YOUR thoughts? Should she be allowed to sue if she knew at the beginning she wouldn't be paid???

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The Fashion Industry May Have To Pay Their Go-Fers & Minions

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Looks like the fashion world, among others, may have to eventually pay that unnamed intern to go get their coffee!

The federal Labor Department’s M. Patricia Smith is stepping up her investigation and cracking down on firms that are treating their unpaid interns like crap without paying them, which would be a violation of minimum wage laws.

The department says the crackdown comes from all those 'terns that don't want to file complaints and become known as the "troublemaker", which would endanger their future employment possibilities.

Oh and we can't forget how the economy is playing into the explosion of unpaid internships. Cheap ass companies aren't wanting to pay for people that probably work harder than their actual employees.

Go figure!

But there is one glimmer of hope for all those magazines that hire unpaid interns in bunches.

As long as the companies are in compliance with the six factors, which includes receiving college credit or being mentored by the higher-ups, it'll still be OK to forfeit a paycheck. However many are arguing that the factors need to be updated as they were part of a Supreme Court ruling back in 1947!

We definitely think it's time to update that 60 year old ruling, Miz Smith!

But what does the Labor Department think about then interns paying the company for their unpaid employment? Does that count???

[Image via AP Images.]

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