Condé Nast to Pay $5.8 Million to Unpaid and Underpaid Interns

Condé Nast to Pay $5.8 Million to Unpaid and Underpaid Interns
Image credit: 360b /

Free Book Preview Entrepreneur Kids: Launch Your Own Business

Submit your email to get a sneak peek of some of the fun, educational worksheets included in our NEW book for the little entrepreneur in your life.
2 min read

After months of organizing accessories and fetching coffee for little to no pay, former Condé Nast interns are having the last laugh.

Condé Nast agreed on Thursday to pay $5.8 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 7,500 former interns, reports Reuters. The interns, who worked at magazines including the New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, alleged the publisher failed to pay them minimum wage.

The magazine publisher's famous internship program was canceled in 2013, soon after Lauren Ballinger, who worked as an intern at W Magazine in 2009, and Matthew Leib, who interned at The New Yorker in 2009 and 2010, filed the lawsuit. Ballinger and Leib said they were paid less than $1 per hour.

While one of the interns' attorney's reportedly said that the settlement was "favorable," a $5.8 million payout is a lot less impressive when divvied up amongst thousands of former interns. Former Condé Nast interns dating back as far as June 2007 are expected to receive payments ranging from $700 to $1,900.

Related: 5 Keys to Building a World-Class Internship Program

The case against Condé Nast is just one of a number of lawsuits filed against companies with unpaid internship programs, including NBCUniversal, Warner Music Group and Hearst. Today, many companies are trying to dodge lawsuits by paying interns, including NBCUniversal. Others, such as Harper’s Magazine, Salon and Hearst, have stuck with the unpaid model.

The Condé Nast lawsuit helped start a national conversation on the ethics of unpaid internships, raising questions about whether internships have become more about money than experience. While unpaid internships, no matter how useful, are criticized for excluding students who cannot afford to work an unpaid, full-time internship, the canceling of intern programs at Condé Nast arguably robbed hundreds of aspiring journalists of a leg up in the publishing industry.

Tell Us: Is campaigning against unpaid internships worth the loss, or should all businesses make their internships economically feasible for all applicants? 

Related: Student Pulls Epic Skydiving Stunt to Land Startup Internship of Her Dreams

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors will guide you through the entire franchising process, for FREE!
  1. Book a one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Take a survey about your needs & goals
  3. Find your ideal franchise
  4. Learn about that franchise
  5. Meet the franchisor
  6. Receive the best business resources
Entrepreneur Insider members enjoy exclusive access to business resources for just $5/mo:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • A 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Whether you want to learn something new, be more productive, or make more money, the Entrepreneur Store has something for everyone:
  • Software
  • Gadgets
  • Online Courses
  • Travel Essentials
  • Housewares
  • Fitness & Health Devices
  • And More

Latest on Entrepreneur