On February 1, 2012, Outten & Golden LLP filed a Class Action Complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Hearst Corporation on behalf of a former Harper’s Bazaar intern, Xuedan Wang. Ms. Wang regularly worked more than 40 hours per week, and sometimes as many as 55 hours per week, without compensation as an intern on the staff of Harper’s Bazaar in 2011. The Complaint alleges that Hearst pays its interns no compensation for the work they perform, including minimum or overtime wages, in violation of federal and state labor laws. On July 24, 2012, Outten & Golden amended the Complaint to add unlawful deductions claims for a subclass of interns who were required to purchase school credit as a condition of their employment with Hearst. The amended complaint also covers underpaid interns who were paid less than the minimum wage.
On July 12, 2012, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion to conditionally certify a class of all interns who worked at Hearst during the past three years. In doing so, the Court made a preliminary determination that unpaid interns at Hearst are “similarly situated” because Hearst made a uniform determination that they are not “employees,” required them to submit college credit letters, and used them to perform entry-level work with little supervision. The Court rejected Hearst’s argument that the case could not be certified as a class action under the New York Labor Law, explaining that Hearst’s arguments were “premature.” At a later phase in the litigation, Outten & Golden will ask the Court to certify a New York Labor Law class of unpaid interns who have worked for Hearst since Feb. 2, 2006.
On September 27, 2012, the Court approved Plaintiffs’ proposal to issue notice to class members via email, text, online advertisements, and this website because Hearst failed to maintain complete contact information for its interns. Notice was issued to collective members by mail on October 2, 2012 and through all other means on October 3, 2012. Collective members have 45 days to return a signed Consent to Join form to protect their rights and become part of the case.
The latest public information about case status may be found on the PACER system or by contacting us directly. If you are a current or former intern at any Hearst magazine, we would like to speak with you. Please complete our questionnaire or contact us directly.