Yesterday, magazine publisher Condé Nast agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by 7,500 of its former interns, Reuters reports. Filed in June 2013, the suit was led by Lauren Ballinger, who worked in the fashion closet at W Magazine in 2009, and Matthew Leib, who wrote reviews and proofread at The New Yorker in 2009 and 2010. Both plaintiffs alleged that Condé Nast paid them less than $1 per hour during their internships.
Under the settlement, former Condé interns going back as far as 2007 are expected to receive payment. But, to put that nearly $6 million figure in perspective — with the suit representing thousands of people, payments are expected to range from just $700 to $1,900 per person. While the company's former hands won't exactly be raking in the dough for what's often several months of work, one of the intern's attorneys nonetheless described it as a "favorable settlement."
As we reported in 2013, Condé Nast discontinued its internship program after the suit was brought, a move that some criticized for limiting young students' opportunities to get their start in an elite industry that's notoriously difficult to break into.
But at Condé, the coffee still needs fetching, and accessory closets organizing, and Shouts and Murmurs reviews writing. So, we can only hope that where an internship "opportunity" (to work for damn near free) is lost, an entry-level job is created.