Jan. 18, 2019
Best of the States
APNewsBreak: Au pairs win $65.5M in suit over US pay
The Au Pair cultural exchange program provides U.S. families with low-cost child care, but former au pairs said they were also asked to feed chickens, help families move and do gardening – all while working at below minimum wage. That prompted a judge to grant class-action status to 11 former au pairs last February and drew the attention of Denver breaking news staffer Colleen Slevin, who spent the next 11 months learning all about the world of au pairs and conducting interviews, such as one with a former au pair who said she felt like a slave.
Slevin also built a relationship with the attorneys for the au pairs and negotiated with them for exclusive notice when the $65.5 million settlement was filed last week.
The result was an APNewsBreak on the settlement that went unmatched for hours and received play around the world.
For her perseverance in building sources and tracking a story of international interest while covering breaking news over a three-state region, Slevin wins the week’s Best of the States award.