Intern Queen Opinion: Charlie Rose Intern Law Suit
The Story: The New York Times and Deadline Hollywood reported today that a former 2007 intern from the Charlie Rose Show on PBS is filing a class action law suit as she wasn't provided an "educational" experience as an intern.
Read the NY Times Story HERE: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/former-intern-at-charli...
DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com Story HERE: http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/does-charlie-rose-exploit-interns/
Intern Queen Initial Opinion:
1. I want to be clear that my opinion is based off these two articles and no other information. I haven't spoken to or consulted with either party involved. If the student, Lucy, or her team is available for comment - we would love to speak with them. Additionally, we are more than willing to speak with PBS and the Charlie Rose Show.
2. My initial reaction is, this is an intern from 2007 who graduated college in 2008. Why are we just hearing about this in 2012? What made her file this law suit in 2012? Something doesn't sound right.
3. I assumed I would read something about the intern being stuck in the corner and not doing anything during the internship. I assumed I would read about her interning full-time at an unpaid internship. This was actually not the case at all - the student performed entry-level tasks like walking guests to the green room, researching guests and topics for Charlie Rose and the staff, organizing the green room, etc. The intern complains that these tasks don't provide an "educational" experience - as unpaid internships must do. If you are trying to get into the television industry - those are all real tasks and real experience. Being able to professionally correspond with guests on a television show, organizing a green room, and doing production research is extremely beneficial to anyone who wants a career in television. In that industry, that is an "educational" experience.
4. She also says these tasks, "directly benefit" the employer which they should not (as the FLSA states). Normally, directly benefitting the employer means that the employer earns direct revenue from that task. An employer or company does not directly earn money from an intern researching guests, coordinating guest arrivals, etc.
5. The real problem here is that when you have a problem - the second you feel uncomfortable at an internship - you do not call the New York Times. You call your parents, professors, the career center, or speak to your internship coordinator or head of human resources. It's important to speak up for yourself and fix the problem as soon as possible. Employers need to make sure that all tasks have an "educational" value.
6. I want to caution employers - this is why you MUST structure your programs and make sure there is educational benefit behind every task a student does. We never want it to come to this.
In short, unless the student has tried on several occasions through her school, career center, and the company directly to speak to The Charlie Rose Show and been ignored every time - then I highly doubt the validity of this law suit and question the person encouraging this young woman to file a law suit. What do you think?