Dualstar Entertainment Group, the licensing and manufacturing company owned by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, has been targeted in a class action suit that alleges wage theft on behalf of about 40 current and former interns. The twins recently won the CFDA award for Womenswear Designer of the Year for their luxury label, The Row.
According to court documents obtained by the New York Post, the lead plaintiff, former design intern Shahista Lalani, put in 50-hour weeks completing menial tasks that included “running personal errands for paid employees.” Lalani, who worked under the head technical designer for The Row [Emily Abate?] in 2012, claims she was hospitalized for dehydration during her stint at the label.
The plaintiff told Page Six that her supervisor was unreasonably demanding, explaining: “I was doing the work of three interns. I was talking to her all day, all night. E-mails at nighttime for the next day, like 10 p.m. at night.” She also mentioned that she’d seen several other interns cry at work. According to Page Six:
The suit says there are many other interns in Lalani’s position, and they should have been paid the minimum wage plus overtime because they were doing the same type of jobs as the paid colleagues without receiving academic or vocational credit.
Dualstar Entertainment Group was founded when the Olsens were 6 years old. The pair is now believed to be worth $300 million.
Similar intern lawsuits have prevailed over large media companies like Condé Nast, PBS, and NBCUniversal, with many others—including Gawker Media—currently in litigation. As for the fashion world, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Kara and Coach are all currently battling unpaid intern lawsuits.
The plaintiff and a Dualstar representative have not yet responded to our requests for comment.
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