The stereotypical internship in New York City consists of running around taking coffee orders for people that are oblivious to the intern's name and existence. However, an internship in New York should have some educational value for the intern, regardless of what field the internship is in. Unfortunately, many interns are made to work for long hours for no pay, sometimes in violation of regulations.
Some internships are highly beneficial and a great introduction to the working world. However, many interns in New York are being abused by employers that take advantage of them by making them do work that is fitting of a paid employee rather than an unpaid intern. Accordingly, some interns are rising up and suing their employers, demanding not just recognition, but back pay.
A New York labor law class-action lawsuit was recently settled on behalf of a class of interns that worked for the Charlie Rose show. The lawsuit was settled for $250,000 and an additional $50,000 in legal costs on behalf of the interns. There are other lawsuits against employers in New York that have been brought forth by other interns that issued complaints with labor officials.
Employers cannot substitute paid employees for unpaid and exploited interns. This settlement has already caused some corporations in New York to revise their policy regarding interns and their compensation. Interns do have rights, and if those rights are infringed upon, there could in some instances be legal recourse for the mistreatment. Speaking to an experienced New York employment law attorney can assist an intern in understanding if their rights have been violated and how best to pursue such recourse.
Source: LawyersandSettlements.com, "Interns, Charlie Rose Inc. Settle New York Labor Law Dispute," Gordon Gibb, Feb. 3, 2013