A recent intern for Harper's Bazaar magazine has launched a lawsuit against the magazine's owners, Hearst Corporation, saying that her four-month internship violated labour laws because it was unpaid. According to a story from Reuters
Xuedan Wang, 28, was an intern at the magazine's accessories department from August to December last year, where she typically worked at least 40 hours a week, and sometimes as much as 55 hours, without pay, according to her lawsuit filed on Wednesday.
"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 lawsuit says.
Wang's suit described interns as "a crucial labor force" at Hearst.
"If the interns weren't doing the work then they would have to hire someone else to do it," Elizabeth Wagoner, one of Wang's lawyers, said in an interview -- a sign, she said, that labor laws are being broken.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a company can offer unpaid internships only if they have an educational benefit to the intern, and not necessarily the employer.
The department says that unpaid interns must not displace regular employees and that "the employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded."