Vallentino Smith , a former intern, is seeking a class action lawsuit!

Vallentino Smith , a former intern, is seeking a class action lawsuit against Donna Karan International over his unpaid internship in 2009.  Smith, a 25 year-old man from Queens, claims he worked 16 hours a week without pay when he was an undergraduate student working for Donna Karan at its Manhattan headquarters. According to the complaint, Smith alleges that he was told the internship would be a great learning experience, but instead all he did was get coffee and organize fashion closets.  He seeks retroactive pay for the hours he worked and would like his case to be classified as class-action so he can represent at least 100 other unpaid Donna Karan interns.  Full article.

To determine whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.  The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern.  If these factors are not met, the employer is required to pay the intern minimum wage and overtime. Full article.

Leeds Brown Law PC dedicates a large portion of its practice to the area of employment discrimination.  If you worked as an unpaid intern and you believe your rights have been violated, it is important to contact an experienced attorney immediately to preserve your rights.  The firm has represented individuals throughout Long Island and the New York City area in matters of wage and hour law.   For more information, contact Leeds Brown Law at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation or visit

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