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Diana Wang, the former Harper's Bazaar accessories intern who filed a lawsuit against Hearst for unpaid wages in 2012, has been denied the right to pursue the case as class action. We gathered from the dry legalese delivered by Judge Baer that Wang can't be joined by fellow unpaid interns working in various Hearst titles as her claim requested because their jobs didn't have enough in common.
"Here, while a close question, the commonality requirement is not satisfied because plaintiffs cannot show anything more than a uniform policy of unpaid internship," Baer wrote. He continued, confusingly, "To mix a metaphor, while half a loaf is better than none, plaintiffs' argument here just doesn't cut the mustard." (Is that a cry for help? Somebody get this poor man a job in publishing.)
Wang and her intern friends, however, are free to pursue their cases individually, but Baer's other judgement offers an indication of how those will go: He maintained that Hearst successfully showed "with respect to each Plaintiff that there was some educational training, some benefit to individual interns, some supervision, and some impediment to Hearst's regular operations, etc," which would satisfy the Fair Labor Standards Act's internship criteria.
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