Interns across the nation are fighting back against major corporations that they feel they’ve been misused and abused by. The latest to take action has been former unpaid DKNY intern, Valentino Smith, who recently filed a class-action lawsuit against Donna Karen International on behalf of 100 other interns, the New York Post reports.
While it’s common for interns to work for college credit or on-the-job experience, in the newly filed lawsuit, Smith expresses that because he received no real experience that could be applied to his career, he should be compensated for the hours he worked.
“He characterized it as a “Devil Wears Prada” atmosphere,” said Smith’s attorney Lloyd Ambinder.
“He got so much coffee for people he knew what they wanted without having to ask,” Ambinder continued.
The suit goes to on to say that during his 2009 corporate sales internship, he was also assigned menial tasks such as data entry, shipping, inventory, answering phones and organizing closets.
“Using a copy machines isn’t what someone would call an internship. I feel like I was taken advantage of” said Smith, who has since gone on to earn his M.B.A from Brooklyn’s Long Island University.
He adds that he should’ve at least been paid minimum wage for his services. DKNY spokesperson Valerie Gelicame responded to the lawsuit, insisting that the company was within legal guidelines when they assigned tasks to Smith and the other interns.
“DKI believes it has acted properly and legally,” said Gelicame.