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After years of complaints that American companies are exploiting unpaid interns, a former Harper’s Bazaar intern is suing the Hearst Corporation for allegedly violating labor laws, and the lawyers are hoping to turn it into a class action suit.  According to  The New York TimesXuedan Wang says the company didn't pay her  for her full-time work despite the fact that she acted in many ways like an employee. From The Times:

“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 Adam Klein, one of the lawyers for Ms. Wang. “The practice of classifying employees as ‘interns’ to avoid paying wages runs afoul of federal and state wage and hour laws.”

The legality of these unpaid internships tends to hinge on whether they provide an "educational" experience, but as any recent college graduate or young worker can tell you, some internships offer dubious (at best) educational value, like dressing windows at Anthropologie for instance. If this develops into a class action suit, it'll be interesting to see if it convinces any employers to reexamine their unpaid internship programs.

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