Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen may be gearing up to take their fashion label, The Row, to the Paris runways this week, but not before addressing a major issue looming over their N.Y.C-based business. In August, a former design intern filed a class-action lawsuit against their company, Dualstar Entertainment Group, claiming interns completed grueling work without compensation. And now the company is fighting back, strongly denying all allegations.
In Shahista Lalani’s lawsuit filed last month, she argued that the company didn’t give interns adequate pay or college credit despite tedious hours on the job. At the time, Dualstar responded in a comment to PEOPLE saying, “The allegations in the complaint filed against Dualstar are groundless, and Dualstar will vigorously defend itself against plaintiff’s claims in court, not before the media. Dualstar is confident that once the true facts of this case are revealed, the lawsuit will be dismissed in its entirety.”
And in a response to the lawsuit, the company is sticking to the same attitude. They are denying all accusations set forth by Lalani, saying that any “claim of failing to provide compensation at the statutory minimum wage rate for all hours workers” is untrue.
In their defense, they also go on to state that Lalani is an “inadequate class representative” and that “at no time did Dualstar act in a willful, wanton, reckless and/or malicious manner.”
When the lawsuit was initially filed, Lalani spoke to Page Six about her experience working under one of The Row’s head technical designer saying, “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 went on to say some interns were reduced to tears. “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.”