Conde Nast Settled Internship Lawsuit for $5.8 Million, Which Is Great News For Underpaid College Students

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Artistic director for Conde Nast Anna Wintour and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Rooney Mara attend the Calvin Klein Collection fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015 at Spring Studios on September 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)
Source: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Finally some good news for unpaid interns! Condé Nast has agreed to pay a $5.8 million settlement to 7,500 people who interned for the media company's magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and from June 2007 onward. Payments will range from $700 to $1,900 per individual, meaning several thousand former disgruntled employees will soon be getting rather fat checks in the mail.

According to Reuters, the settlement agreement was filed on Thursday at the U.S. District Court in New York. Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend wrote a company-wide email to current staff members, saying "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."

It's also great for the likes of lead plaintiffs Lauren Ballinger, who Reuters reports earned "$1 per hour organizing accessories in the fashion closet at W magazine" and Matthew Leib, whose summer long internship at The New Yorker earned him a total of only $300. Those are some grossly low numbers, especially when you consider that Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Condé Nast employee Anna Wintour receives a $200,000 clothing stipend each year.

The famed magazine publisher shuttered its internship program in 2013, shortly after the class-action suit was filed, thus squashing the dreams of many wannabe Wintours. But hey — if less internships mean better-paid internships, that's a sacrifice we should all be willing to make. Even fashion apprentices need to eat!


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