Charlie Rose Unpaid Intern Lawsuit Settles for $250K

By Andrew Lu on December 24, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

TV talk show host Charlie Rose will pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by unpaid interns.

Rose and his production company were sued in a wage and hour class action lawsuit. The interns were reportedly "unpaid summer interns," which are common in the TV business, and in other industries as well. But the reality is that many of these interns perhaps should be paid, according to the law.

Instead of taking the unpaid intern issue to court, Charlie Rose and the interns decided to settle the lawsuit. The payout amounts to about $1,100 for each of the 190 former interns, reports the New York Daily News.

The lawsuit was sparked when former intern Lucy Bickerton, 26, claimed that she worked without pay in summer 2007. Bickerton claimed that she worked 25 hours a week doing research for the "Charlie Rose" show, putting together press packets, escorting guests, and even cleaning up, writes the Daily News.

At first, the intern thought everything was on the up-and-up. After all, her college promoted the unpaid opportunity, she said. But after it was over, she started to think of the internship differently -- as a free way to replace regular employees, reports the Daily News.

A lawyer for Rose disputes the allegations and insists that the internships "provided invaluable experiences" to the interns as they got the chance to mingle with "some of the most influential and historically relevant people" including, presumably, Charlie Rose himself.

If you ever served as an unpaid intern and are wondering if you have a claim, you should know that there are legal guidelines about such internships. In general, unpaid internships:

  • Must be similar to educational training,
  • Must primarily benefit the intern and not the employer,
  • Must not displace any regular employees,
  • May not include the guarantee of a job following the internship, and
  • Must come with an understanding that the intern will not be paid.

To learn more about unpaid internships and wage and hour claims, you may want to speak with an employment attorney.

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