Last year, two former interns at magazines owned by Condé Nast filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for underpaying them and thousands of other interns, in violation of labor law. According to recent court filings reported by Reuters, Condé intends to retroactively compensate the pair and over 7,000 other former interns in order to settle the legal dispute. The price tag: $5.8 million.
Former interns dating back as far as June 2007 are expected to receive payments ranging from $700 to $1,900, according to the settlement. Condé Nast Chief Executive Officer Chuck Townsend, in an internal email to staff about the settlement, said he still believed the company’s magazine internships “were among the best in the media business.”
Condé initially reacted to the suit by revamping its internship program in order to meet legal requirements. This was complicated by the fact that the company had recently stopped paying current interns any kind of stipend. (Up until last spring, interns were paid $550 per semester—not a lot, but more than zero.) Eventually the publisher decided to cancel its 2014 internship program altogether.
Condé’s settlement comes less than a month after NBCUniversal agreed to pay thousands of unpaid Saturday Night Live interns between $500 and $10,000 each, for a total cost of $6.4 million. Similar lawsuits against other media and entertainment companies—including Fox Searchlight and Gawker Media—remain pending.