Friday, June 14, 2013

New Yorker, W magazines named in intern suits as tide turns on unpaid labour

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, two former interns who worked at W Magazine and The New Yorker sued parent company Conde Nast Publications for allegedly failing to pay them the minimum wage. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, seeks class action status on behalf of other interns who worked in the fashion, accessories and fine jewellery departments at Conde Nast magazines.
The lawsuits came on the heels of a decision this week in New York federal court which found that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie Black Swan.
The decision may lead some American companies to rethink whether it’s worth the legal risk to hire interns to work without pay. For many young people struggling to find jobs in a tough economy, unpaid internships have become a rite of passage essential for padding resumes and gaining practical experience.
There are up to 1 million unpaid internships offered in the United States every year, said Ross Eisenbrey, vice-president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning think-tank. He said the number of internships has grown as the economy tumbled and he blamed them for exploiting young workers and driving down wages.
More of the AP story in the Globe and Mail

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