Intern sues TV host Charlie Rose for unpaid wages

NEW YORK, March 14 Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:13pm EDT

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - A former intern filed a lawsuit against US television talk show host and journalist Charlie Rose on Wednesday, saying that her internship violated labor laws because she did not receive training and was unpaid.

Lucy Bickerton, was an editorial intern at nightly talk show, "Charlie Rose," between June and August in 2007 and regularly worked 25 hours per week but not was paid any wages, according to the lawsuit filed in state court in New York.

The proposed class-action suit said the show, which airs on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and more than 200 affiliates across the United States, regularly used about 10 unpaid interns as it operates on a small annual budget, the suit said. Rose serves as host, executive producer and executive editor on the show.

"Central to the show's lean production are the substantial number of unpaid interns who work on The Charlie Rose Show each day, but are paid no wages," the suit said.

"Despite the significant work they perform, Charlie Rose interns are not compensated for any of their work, in violation of New York Labor Law," including not offering academic or vocational training, the suit said.

Bickerton and her lawyers sued both Rose and the show's production company, seeking unpaid wages and class-action status for those who worked on the show as unpaid interns from March 14, 2006 onwards.

Spokespeople for Charlie Rose and the production company had no immediate comment.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a company may legally offer unpaid internships if they are educational and benefit the intern and not necessarily the employer, according to information published on the Department of Labor's website.

The department says that unpaid interns must not displace regular employees and that "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."

The suit follows a similar one filed in February in which former intern at Harper's Bazaar sued the magazine's publisher, Hearst Corporation, saying that her internship violated labor laws because it was unpaid. It also sought class action status. (Reporting By Christine Kearney; editing by Patricia Reaney)

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