This Thursday, Journalist Charlie Rose and his production team agreed to pay $250,000 in unpaid wages to former interns in order to settle a class-action suit they had filed against him. Could this mean that Hearst will be forced to do the same in the suit former intern Diana Wang brought against the company? And could this be the beginning of the end of unpaid internships?
Lucy Bickerton, the main plaintiff in the Charlie Rose case, was an intern at Charlie Rose, Inc., during the summer of 2007. She worked 25 hours a week for Rose for no pay (sound familiar, anyone?), but now, she and the 190 other former interns that brought the suit against Charlie Rose, Inc., will get about $1,100 each.
Some are speculating that Hearst will also settle in its suit with Wang, and, as Bickerton’s lawyer says, this could be a “watershed moment” — this might just be what makes the unpaid internship bubble finally burst. Elie Mystal, Fashionista‘s legal expert, said, “I’d go as far as to say this case will likely influence settlement talks in the Hearst suit.”
Condé Nast has already changed its internship policies in the wake of Wang’s suit, presumably to avoid similar legal action being brought against them. We’re interested to see how this unfolds — this could be a real game-changer.