FASHION LAW: WOULD YOU COMMIT TO 30 HOURS OF FREE LABOR? CALVIN KLEIN WOULD PUT YOU UP TO IT
American fashion house Calvin Klein is known for their modern design aesthetic and offers five tiers within their brand: Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein (platinum label), Calvin Klein Underwear, and Calvin Klein (white label). It is acknowledged as one of the best designer names in the world; however, with fame, there comes a great liability to uphold standards as a major label. With the series of intern lawsuits surfacing up in the fashion sphere, Calvin Klein is not exempt from the ripple effect either.
Caught in a class action lawsuit from former intern, Rajwinder Kaur, the 7.8 billion dollar corporation is being sued for reclassifying interns as entry-level workers to avoid paying minimum wage for their successors. Kaur filed the suit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against Calvin Klein, a division of Philip Van Hausen (PVH). Lead plaintiff with plenty of earnest interns following suit, Kaur claimed she worked long hours, set up fashion events, did data entry work, researched trends, handled merchandise with 28-30 hours a week without receiving any sort of compensation. With over 100 interns, employed since 2008, in the PVH and Calvin Klein internship program, there had been a lot of hands on deck for the free labor to go around. If our estimations are correct that’s about three thousand hours of labor per week that should have garnered some sort of compensation for the students, or better yet, educational training to prompt them for their future careers.
Calvin Klein and its parent company is in for some heat as Kaur’s complaint subjects the violations of the New York Labor Law against its defendant for unlawful conduct and purposely denying plaintiffs of compensation. Whether the storm of unpaid internships will cease is most likely not to happen. Opinioned pieces constantly surface the Internet from furious interns claiming mistreatment and unfair conditioning. Refinery29 has a wonderful article written by Haley Mlotek “When an unpaid internship is worth it (and when it’s really not)”.
Interns have always been an undervalued piece in the scheme of establishments but it doesn’t mean there aren’t good seeds out there in a world of insatiability. Have you ever been an intern, what’re your thoughts on this?