| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 13 Condé Nast agreed on Thursday
to pay $5.8 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by
thousands of former interns at the publisher who said they were
underpaid for work at the company's high-end magazines.
The settlement agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in
New York, covers around 7,500 interns at Condé Nast magazines
like Vogue and Vanity Fair. The case is one in a wave of recent
suits brought against media and entertainment companies that pay
little or nothing for internships.
Condé Nast canceled its internship program soon after the
lawsuit was filed in June 2013.
Lauren Ballinger, who worked for approximately $1 per hour
organizing accessories in the fashion closet at W Magazine, and
Matthew Leib, who earned around $300 for a summer internship at
the New Yorker, were the two lead plaintiffs in the case.
"We do think this is a favorable settlement," one of the
interns' attorneys, Rachel Bien, said.
Former interns dating back as far as June 2007 are expected
to receive payments ranging from $700 to $1,900, according to
Condé Nast Chief Executive Officer Chuck Townsend, in an
internal email to staff about the settlement, said he still
believed the company's magazine internships "were among the best
in the media business."
"Settling the lawsuit is the right business decision for
Condé Nast, as it allows us to focus our time and resources on
developing meaningful, new opportunities to support future
up-and-coming talent," he said in the email.
NBCUniversal, Warner Music Group and Hearst publishers have
all been sued over similar claims.
The Condé Nast suit was filed just two days after a judge
found that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated labor laws when it
used unpaid interns for production tasks on "Black Swan," the
2010 film starring Natalie Portman. The decision is being
The case is Lauren Ballinger and Matthew Leib v. Advance
Magazine Publishers Inc, d/b/a Condé Nast Publications, U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York, No.
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi)