Two former interns had sued for unpaid wages, alleged labor violations
Conde Nast is in the process of settling a class-action lawsuit brought against the magazine publisher by two former interns, according to court documents filed Friday.
A letter from Conde Nast attorneys filed in New York federal court Friday said that an agreement is being drafted after both sides met in a settlement conference. Lawyers are still negotiating those terms, which are unlikely to be made public.
The lawsuit was brought in June 2013 by former interns Lauren Ballinger and Matthew Lieb, who alleged that the compensation received for the work they did at W Magazine and the New Yorker, respectively, violated New York labor law.
In a memo to staff announcing the settlement, Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend defended the internship program — which the company shut down in October — as an invaluable launching point for many past careers.
“We are, and have always been, extremely proud of the internship experiences that were offered at Conde Nast,” Townsend wrote. “Our internships were considered some of the best in the industry, providing students with unparalleled learning opportunities outside of the classroom. The training and contacts our interns received at Conde Nast helped many begin successful careers here and elsewhere.”
“We believe that settling the lawsuit at this time is the right business decision for Conde Nast,” the CEO continued.
“The settlement will allow us to devote our time and resources towards developing meaningful, new opportunities to support up-and-coming talent.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.