Court orders publishing company to pay back intern

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A former intern successful won her battle to recoup wages owed whilst working as an intern for publishing house.

The Central London Employment Tribunal found that the intern, Keri Hudson had earned the right to be paid for work she carried as an intern over the two months at TPG’s My Village website last year. The court ordered the firm to pay intern, Hudson over £1,000 in damages.

The tribunal heard that despite having no written contract,
Hudson worked for the company on a daily basis from 10am until 6pm and was personally responsible for and in charge of a team of writers. She was also responsible for training and delegating tasks, collecting briefs, scheduling articles and even hiring new interns.

Hudson said that, when the site was taken over by TPG, she was asked to stay on and work for the new firm and was assured her pay would be fixed. After five more weeks of doing so, however, she was informed that she would not now be receiving payment for the work she had carried out. As a result, she resigned and took out a grievance against the company.

The National Union of Journalists, which took her case on under the auspices of its ‘cashback for interns’ campaign, said that the company told her that “she was not eligible for any pay because they considered her an intern”.

The tribunal disagreed, however. It ruled that Hudson was classed as a worker under the law even though she had no written contract. As a result, she was entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.

The NUJ’s general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “Today’s judgement sends a clear warning to all employers to pay their interns, abide by the law or face the consequences. It is unacceptable that full-time staff are being sacked, while unpaid interns are being exploited. This is the first case of its kind – if employers continue to break the law it will not be the last.”

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