Intern sues Coach Inc., claims she was ‘misclassified’

Johnetta Campbell

Johnetta Campbell worked at New York-based Coach Inc., an American luxury leather goods company, for four months in 2012. She’s suing them claiming she was “misclassified” as an intern because she worked five to eight hours per day, five days a week. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Campbell was an administrative assistant intern who claims to have “developed and maintained fabric and trend boards weekly and seasonally, assisted the team in researching new trends or fabrics, and other similar tasks necessary to the operation” of Coach. The case is being reviewed by Supreme Court of the State of New York.

In her suit, Campbell’s representatives say Coach violated New York state law for classifying interns, which adheres to a strict 11-factor test that reads:
1. Interns be notified in writing that they will not receive any wages and are not considered employees for minimum wage purposes.

2. Any clinical training is performed under the supervision and direction of people who are experienced in the activity.

3. The interns do not receive employee benefits.

4. The training is general and qualifies interns to work in any similar businesses in the industry.

5. Advertisements, postings, or solicitations for the internship program clearly discusses the educational benefits rather than employment, although employers may indicate that qualified graduates may be considered for employment.

Campbell alleges Coach has been unlawfully withholding intern wages since 2008.

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