Unpaid interns in U.S. sue former employers for minimum wage

Unless academic requirement, unpaid internship likely illegal: Lawyer
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/27/2012

In February, Xuedan Wang a former intern at Harper’s Bazaar, sued the magazine’s publisher, Hearst, saying her internship violated labour laws because it was unpaid, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York.

“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,” said the class-action lawsuit.

Wang was an intern in the magazine’s accessories department from August to December 2011 where she typically worked at least 40 hours per week, and sometimes as much as 55 hours, without pay, according to the lawsuit. Wang is seeking minimum wage pay and overtime pay in damages.