After the recent lawsuit filed against Harper Bazaar by a former intern it was only a matter of time before changes were going to be made to other internship programs. Conde Nast has made some major changes to their internship program and is said to be the strictest in the industry.
The following changes, we are told, went into effect for this semester:
• Interns aren’t allowed to stay at the company for more than one semester per calendar year unless granted special clearance by Human Resources.
• Interns are required to do an orientation with HR where they are told to contact them if they are working unreasonably long hours or are mistreated.
• Interns can only work until 7pm and their security badges will actually be modified so that they won’t work after 7pm–meaning they won’t be able to get back into the building after 7 (making any late-afternoon errands or pickups particularly stressful)
• Interns are given stipends (around $550 for the semester)
• Interns have to receive college credit to be eligible for an internship.
• Interns will have to have official mentors
• Interns are only allowed to work on tasks related to the job at hand and no personal errands
Rumor has it that the changes came because Conde of its problems with the Labour Department because the intern program really resembled free workers, and with the unemployment rate being so high, Condé should hire people to do what interns are doing.
Some look at the 7pm badge shutdown is a little much but there is always something to do and before you know it you would have pitched a tent in the office and be making smores in the microwave. I am glad that are making the program focus more on industry related duties and not dry cleaning and getting coffee.
Unpaid internships were a topic on this weekend New York Times’ Ethnicist column. Ariel Kaminir spoke to Elizabeth Wagoner, a lawyer who worked on Xuedan Wang’s case against Harper’s Bazaar, a Hearst publication. Wagoner had two suggestions for unhappy unpaid interns: 1. File a lawsuit, or, 2. Call the Labor Department confidentially and tell them the position isn’t legal (Perhaps that’s what a Condé intern did, prompting the aforementioned changes). [Fashionista]