Harper’s Bazaar sued over unpaid internship

Former Harper’s Bazaar intern Xuedan Wang accuses the magazine’s owner, Hearst, of violating federal and state laws by not paying her even though she often worked full time. The woman and her law firm are hoping to make the case a class action on behalf of other unpaid interns at the various Hearst magazines.
* Former intern sues Hearst over unpaid work, hopes to create class action


Hearst Corp. Sued for Alleged Labor Law Violations, According to Outten & Golden LLP

NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2012 – 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.

Attorney Contacts: Adam T. Klein, Rachel Bien, and Elizabeth Wagoner, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, 212.245.1000, www.outtengolden.com.

Media Contact: Erin Powers, Powers MediaWorks LLC, for Outten & Golden LLP, 281.703.6000.



  1. Rich said:

    Ms. Wang should be thankful she even landed an internship at Harper’s Bazaar in the first place.

    No one forced her to take the internship.

    Good luck trying to find elsewhere in media now.

  2. wubbly said:

    This will be the best thing ever to happen to this young lady if it gets her out of the deluded world of aspiring journalists who willingly take “jobs” that don’t pay.

  3. anon said:

    I applaud this girl.

    Long ago, I had an internship at a Seven Sisters magazine.
    When the receptionist was at lunch, the editorial assistants filled in at the desk/switchboard. One day I was asked to do so. It was a day when I had lunch plans with an out-of-town friend, who was coming in for a rare visit to the city.

    I don’t remember the details, but I do remember the managing editor’s annoyance at me and I do remember suggesting they hire a temp. In the end, I managed to get myself out of this lunchtime chore and meet with my friend.

    Later, they did put me at the switchboard during lunch. I had no idea how it worked, so every single person who called was disconnected. I wasn’t trying to do it wrong, but I wasn’t trained to do it right. Later, I wasn’t offered a job, either.

    Xuedan has my full support.