Coach, Inc. is the latest company to be sued for alleged misclassification of employees as unpaid interns. I just wrote about the trend in these class action lawsuits for the Union Leader’s Know The Law. These cases are often high profile because they involve a large number of former and current interns seeking monetary relief against a company for violations of labor practices. With this new lawsuit, the trend continues.
In that action, ex-intern, Johnetta Campbell, has alleged she was misclassified as an intern when she worked in Coach, Inc.’s Manhattan Office from January 2012 through March 2012. She contends she worked five days each week, routinely five to eight hour days. During that time, she created trend boards, “researching new trends or fabrics, working in the warehouse, and other similar tasks necessary to the operation” of the business. She seeks minimum wage compensation for all hours worked during that time as well as liquidated damages under state law for herself and all similarly situated employees.
While NY’s law for internships is different from the Fair Labor Standards Act (US Department of Labor), this recent case is another reason companies should carefully review their internship programs to confirm compliance under the law. For more information, visit dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm. New Hampshire law is similar to federal law in the restrictions it places on unpaid internships at for-profit businesses and more school-to-work facts can be obtained at nh.gov/labor/faq/school-to-work.htm.