The Olsen Twins Just Settled a Lawsuit with Dozens of Former Unpaid Interns

The lead plaintiff claims she was hospitalized for dehydration because of her job with their fashion line.

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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's company moved to settle a class-action lawsuit with 185 former unpaid interns out of court this week. The lead plaintiff, Shahista Lalani, filed the suit in September 2015 after working at The Row for five months. Lalani and other former interns claimed they worked up to 50-hour weeks doing the same work as some full-time employees of their fashion lines, The Row and Elizabeth and James, according to The Fashion Law (opens in new tab)Collectively, they asked the court for damages including minimum wage and overtime.

"It was like 100 degrees outside. I'd just be sweating to death. I probably carried like 50 pounds worth of trench coats to Row factories," she said, according to Page Six (opens in new tab). "You're like an employee, except you're not getting paid. They're kind of mean to you. Other interns have cried. I'd see a lot of kids crying doing coffee runs, photocopying stuff."

Lalani even claimed she was hospitalized for dehydration because of the job, according to reports.

The Olsens' company, Dualstar Entertainment Group, previously vowed to fight back against the suit, calling the accusations "groundless" in a statement to USA Today (opens in new tab). But now, the Olsens' company will pay $140,000 to a class of 185 interns, according to The Fashion Law, quoting a recent filing with the New York Supreme Court. The settlement terms still have to be approved by the court.

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Kate Storey is a contributing editor at Marie Claire and writer-at-large at Esquire magazine, where she covers culture and politics. Kate's writing has appeared in ELLE, Harper's BAZAAR, Town & Country, and Cosmopolitan, and her first book comes out in summer 2023.