Interns sue Conde Nast over (really low) wages

There’s this little legal item, signed into law in 1938 by FDR, called the Fair Labor Standards Act. It’s sort of an anti-semi-slavery law which should protect workers from being unfairly underpaid. Or not paid at all.

I mentioned this previously when news came of a lawsuit against the producers of “Black Swan” (the movie) by a production intern, a/k/a gofer. Who was radically underpaid.

Now interns at Condé Nast, the big publisher of really classy magazines (The New Yorker, Vogue, etc), have sued for a similar reason: they just haven’t been paid much.

The Revolt of the Interns!

It’s pretty obvious that substantial, if not utterly unspeakably wealthy, companies have been taking unfair advantage of the desperate employment difficulties after the Great Recession. Young people are having a bitch of a time finding anything like the quality work their schooling and lives promised them. So they are poignantly willing to take on glamorous slave labor, if the labor is for a big-time publisher who might, just might have a real (low-paying) job for them in the near future.

It isn’t nice. And I guess the downside for companies hiring interns — interns that must be intelligent and self-confident, given the requirements of the companies they’re working for — is that intelligent, self-confident young people are smart enough to know about the Fair Labor Standards Act. And smart enough to sue, although it’s a big risk for them since these desirable companies could establish a secret blackball list for future hiring.

We’ll have to wait and see whether this happens … and if a class action lawsuit by ex-interns springs up over being blackballed.

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