And so the class actions by former fashion interns continues. This time the lawsuit has been brought against The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s high end fashion line. The interns are claiming that they were entitled to pay and were misclassified as interns because their responsibilities were those normally associated with employees and were subjected to excessive amounts of work and unfairly long hours.
The class action consists of about 40 former interns and the principal plaintiff, Shahista Lalani. Lalani is a former design intern who worked for The Row for 5 months in 2012.
Her claims include 50-hour workweeks, a hospitalization for dehydration, and responsibility of menial or degrading tasks including late-night emails, and sorting buttons as well as running personal errands for her bosses.
Back in April, Condé Nast settled the unpaid intern class action lawsuit that former W Magazine intern, Lauren Ballinger and former New Yorker intern, Matthew Leib had filed against the publishing giant. However, the negotiations for the actual terms of the settlement have been ongoing.
Finally, it seems that the negotiations have concluded and Condé Nast has agreed to $5.8 million to 7,500 former interns with amounts ranging from $700 to $1,900. This class action suit is what Condé Nast to temporarily terminate their internship program last year, which was a shock heard around the world as Condé Nast internships are the most coveted in the fashion industry.
CEO Chuck Townsend was quoted as saying that this settlement “is the right business decision for Condé Nast, as it allows us to focus our time and resources on developing meaningful, new opportunities to support future up-and-coming talent.”
And, so the Condé Nast unpaid internship legal battle comes to an end, and the publishing giant will perhaps start a new internship program to go with their new digs at One World Trade Center!
Interns are a huge part of the fashion industry. Go to the headquarters of just about any publication, clothing brand, retail store, etc and I’m sure you will find at least 10 interns there working hard.
Internships are crucial for both aspiring fashionistas wanting to work in the industry and for companies and brands who need them to run successful companies. It is a rather competitive and difficult process to secure an internship in the fashion industry, because they offer a great learning experience and oftentimes leads to connections which leads to jobs. But, on the other hand, because these internships are seen as a privilege for those who are able to secure one, they can be a rather difficult undertaking for any student. Many internships consist of long hours and sometimes menial or laborious tasks and can be rather stressful on the intern.