By Chad Bray
A federal judge has conditionally granted class-action status on behalf of a group of Hearst Corp. interns who allegedly weren't paid for their work at 19 of the company's magazines, including Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping.
Xuedan Wang, a former intern at Harper's Bazaar from last August to December, sued Hearst earlier this year, alleging the company violated federal and state labor laws by misclassifying her and other workers as unpaid or underpaid interns, rather than employees. As a result, they were denied pay and other benefits, the lawsuit said.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Wang claims she regularly worked more than 40 hours a week for no pay as an intern and, sometimes, as many as 55 hours a week. She was a head accessories intern at Harper's Bazaar during that period, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in February in Manhattan federal court.
"For now the plaintiff need only establish that other employees 'may be similarly situated' to her," U.S. District Judge Harold Baer in Manhattan said in conditionally certifying a class of interns in an order issued Thursday.
The judge said Ms. Wang, at this point in the case, made sufficient arguments to certify a class. He said she provided affidavits showing that Hearst made a uniform determination that interns weren't employees, required all interns to submit college credit letters and used interns to perform entry-level work with little supervision.
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Judge Grants Class-Action Status in Hearst Unpaid Intern Case
By Chad Bray