Yesha Callahan

Unpaid Intern Sues Bad Boy Record Label


Interns across the country are standing up for their rights. They’re mad as heck and they’re not going to take it any more! Corporations and organizations everywhere are pretty much getting free work out of interns and offering very little “hands on” learning in return.

Interns have died.

Interns are suing.

Diddy, Rashida Salaam is coming for you.

Rashida Salaam, 26, of Brownsville, Brooklyn filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday in Manhattan federal court accusing Bad Boy Records of violating minimum-wage laws by not paying interns for work performed.

“I know that I was taken advantage of,” Salaam told the NY Post. “ “I basically wanted to take a stand for all interns who work there …You are supposed to get paid for labor that you do.”

Here’s a list of the duties Salaam and other interns were required to do:

  • Get lunch and coffee for paid staffers
  • Answering phones
  • Gift wrapping presents
  • Decorating the firm’s Broadway offices during the holidays

“Past interns told me that they wrapped gifts for Diddy and his kids,” Salaam confided. “… They wrapped gifts for Diddy and decorated his tree at his office. Basically, they are happy to be there. It’s a big company.”

I wish I would wrap someone’s gifts. Unless I’m a gift wrapping intern at Macy’s, what’s the point? I highly doubt Macy’s even has gift-wrapping internships.

“You have the right to make a claim for unpaid wages even if you agreed to be classified as an unpaid intern or trainee,” said Salaam’s lawyer Jeffrey Brown.

“If the employer would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had the interns not performed the services, then the interns will be treated as employees and are entitled to pay.”

Corporations need to realize that interns are not free labor.  Most of these interns are trying to learn something that can benefit them in the long run and are in line with their degree pursuits. Last time I checked, getting coffee and wrapping gifts were not degrees offered at any university.

Take that, Diddy.  Give those interns some of that Ciroc money.


  1. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    I guess she isn’t old enough to know his history of screwing people over financially. If he left some of his past artists dead broke, what would you expect him to do to interns?

  2. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    This is the same man that made “Making the Band” hopefuls walk for cheesecake! You know what situation you’re getting into before you enter it. If you feel that you may have an issue with how that company is known to operate, don’t agree to be an intern. Go somewhere else where the conditions are more in line with your expectations. Period. If she was unhappy, why didn’t she go somewhere else? Maybe I’m being a little insensitive, but I just feel like at 26 (I’m 26), if you’re unhappy with a situation, then as an adult, you should just leave. Also, as far intern duties are concerned, interns should start speaking up or getting their school liaisons involved. If you want more challenging work, speak up. If you’re scared, express your concern to your school advisor and let them handle it. It’s not that serious to me. Idk. Maybe there are more details to this story in particular that weren’t shared, but from what I read, it’s just not that deep.

  3. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    First….before being star struck you need to look at the reputation of the man who started his company. Diddy has never had a good reputation. Interning for him is not worth putting on your resume.

  4. August 21, 2013 - Reply


    Girl BYE…

  5. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    Honestly, I feel for all of the unpaid interns out there. However, if we want to solve this problem, young people are going to have to band together. That means all college students and grads have to turn down unpaid internships and demand at least stipends when working. I have NEVER taken an unpaid internship. The whole idea is just ridiculous.

  6. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    I hope she does get some money. I remember being a intern doing crap work for executives, being yelled at by I woman I towered over, and I got nothing from it. I don’t know how it is now but back then interns were treated badly. I might be telling my age but I remember Bad Boy had a terrible reputation when it came to their interns. I heard once that one of the executives stole an idea from an intern and didn’t give the person credit. I also heard that Puffy had a intercom and would scream over it calling for other executives. Back then he travelled with goons so I am surprised it took this long for some intern to sue.

  7. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    because she probably thought she would 1. actually learn something about working a real job there 2. she thought it would help her get a job there later..
    most interns don’t know that today’s internships are coffee fetching and dog walking who have no chance of being hired, even if they could turn water into wine

  8. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    why can’t rich people/companies pay their interns? i mean isn’t he the richest rapper (some how) next to jayz or something banking on a half a billion?? it amazes me how people like him and other large corporations won’t pay people but expect you to work in the most expensive places (nyc) and work from 9am-6pm
    and i hate when people from other generations say “oh you guys are too lazy it was a stepping stone”
    not anymore it aint! most internships are filled with low skill work like running errands and coffee fetching, and sometimes its real work that could be filled by a paid person. i have known companies to fire 75% of the paid employees and replace them with rotating interns. it makes it hard for poorer graduates to have a chance to an industry!
    i once worked at a magazine that had 10 paid workers (underpaid in NYC) and 40 interns

    they had two girls staying on in hopes to be hired.. one for TWO years as a RECEPTIONIST intern..she was doing very big things like getting things ready for photoshoots, keeping everything in order , working 9-7pm for FREE..and another girl who was on a for a year hoping to get hired but couldn’t find work anywhere else so just holding on in hopes that hey I’ll be hired after a year..or two

  9. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    Students are told that internships, paid or not, are the way to go. In actuality, it’s not. I had an unpaid internship and it was a horrible experience. I was harassed by the owner and making copies everyday until I quit. Internships are overrated and I wish professors and counselors would educate students on internships. But they’re too busy selling dreams to do that tho. So…

  10. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    Internships are just not what they used to be. In the past, an internship was a stepping stone to getting a desirable job in the company. Today, an internship is organized free labour with no job prospect at the end of the day. You are lucky if you get a monthly transit pass out of it. If you truly need money, and have no time to waste, you are better off taking a job you are overqualified for with a lower pay and keep looking until something desirable turns up.

    @topic, Let’s see if this lil David can tumble the Goliath that is Diddy, because it will take a miracle for Rashida to come out triumphant in this.

  11. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    She did take an unpaid internship therefore I can see where people are coming from saying why is she expecting to get paid. However, I understand where she is coming from when she is doing work that she is not supposed to be doing, doing work that has nothing to do with her education or why she took the internship in the first place, or working harder than the people who are actually getting paid. I remember I did some unpaid volunteering at a law firm last year and it was such a waste of time. I didn’t learn much of anything. It seems like employers are trying to get over on the work place anyway they can.

    • August 23, 2013 - Reply


      I agree with what your saying. Unpaid internship is only beneficially if the work being performed provides skills necessary for him/her to obtain real employment. i think a lot of employers take advantage of interns and use them as their personal assistant. As for Diddy….he has had a history of bankrupting artists and derailing their careers, so I would’ve stayed clear of his job offer.

  12. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    I’m conflicted with this one. I know folks who’ve interned at Bad Boy and their experiences were good.Where she might have a case is in the offer letter. I have done two internships (one paid, one not). The key is the offer letter. If the offer letter stated her title, responsibilities, projects, and duties but her experience differed then she has a case. If not or if she knew what kind of environment Bad Boy is then she’s doing too much. She should’ve left professionally if the experience didn’t meet her standards.

    Although I’m on the side of interns. Companies are using the economic downturn to really show their back side to entry level employees and interns, treating them any old kind of way. I’ve had a few experiences dealing with companies who are practicing poor etiquette and taking advantage of unpaid labor. I went through an interview process for an internship crossing every t yet when it came time for a decision I heard nothing back from the company. Not even a rejection. I interviewed, thanked the interviewer a day later, waited two weeks for a decision, then followed up again. Nothing. I find stuff like that rude and highly inconsiderate and I vow never to do that to students once I’m a senior in my industry. At another internship, I had an offer letter that outlined my title and what I was doing yet some how, some way as soon as my defined tasks ran dry, I’m doing other random stuff that had nothing to do with my goals or what I want to do. No ma’am. I professionally and quickly left early. It’s not 1994, not 1980, not 1970, not 1950. People my age (early twenties) are raising whole families these days nobody has time to be getting jerked around for free.

    I’m not jaded though, I’ve had that once in a lifetime internship in NY that lots of people dream about and got paid. So I do believe it’s up to students to be very proactive in the hiring process and on their part they need to start negotiating. If a company won’t pay you, limit the tasks you do, turn the internship into a shadowing experience. Be brave and ask for a stipend/money for lunch or travel. Pitch yourself and your skills to get paid. If all else fails keep looking. Know your priorities. Some people intern for the name on a resume over the experience and companies like Bad Boy know this. Besides legislation, if we want things to change students need to start showcasing their worth and matching it.

  13. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    This guy doesn’t give money to the people he’s suppose to pay did this lady think she was going to come up out of Diddy’s pockets for a job described as an UNPAID internship. I had one of those when I was younger and actually paid internships are hard to come by trust me, so instead you take an unpaid one hoping the experience will pay off somewhere either with that company or somewhere else. I wouldn’t take an unpaid gig now because I’m older and the financial demands my life has now are way different than in my 20’s. Now if this job was advertised as a paid internship and she wasn’t compensated, then their would be a case but, applying for and accepting a job with no compensation of a paycheck you signed up for it.

    Some of these interns have buyers remorse they may look at certain people’s perks and paychecks and think hey, I deserve something too. Now here in NYC were the cost of transportation is a BISH, some companies offer transportation and/or lunch as compensation, to help with that cost. I know many of us think Diddy is a snake but, in this case this intern may have watched too many videos of popping bottles and making it rain and thought she was entitled GIRL BYE.

  14. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    From this article, the girl sounds like she thought she was going to be living the high life and was confused when she had to do normal intern stuff. Sorry, but interns do coffee and lunch runs, and honestly, why is answer phones on the list. I interned on the Hill and answered phones. Heck, I answer my phone as a mid-level employee…my company’s CEO answers the phone. Also, again I don’t know the details, but if this was for school credit, then legally you aren’t supposed to be paid (I completely disagree with this concept, but she still wouldn’t be paid).

    Even though I don’t like dancing dummy Diddy and I’m all for interns rights, I just can’t support this girl. She literally sounds mad that she had to work and couldn’t party with him.

    • August 21, 2013 - Reply


      maybe she thought she was going to do something beneficial instead menial maid stuff like wrapping gifts for diddy’s children

  15. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    I’m curious as to what she thought she’d do/learn? We’ve had unpaid interns in our office, and frankly, if I have to make copies, they do too. They’re not exempt from admin or menial tasks as interns, IMO that is part of learning what that office environment is like and disabusing interns of the expectations that everyone starts off with a private secretary and paralegals to tasks. What were her expectations going in, and what was the intern ad/job posting describing as possible duties? If all she did was answer phones or fetch coffee, that’s one thing. But if she got to sit in on meetings, learn how things are done, marketed, etc. I’m not sure she gained nothing from the experience or that she was a glorified receptionist.

    I’m also curious if she raised this prior to leaving? As an intern, she should have had an assigned mentor/intern coordinator to address her issues with. If she was not being given what she thought were concrete tasks to do, she should have mentioned it as well and given the company a chance to fix it. We always check in with our interns to see if they’re getting what they think is appropriate assignments, if they want to try another area, if the internship isn’t going well, etc, while there is still time to adjust. She has to be proactive in making that internship what she wants out of it. At the same time, she needs to be real, as an intern, (and frankly as a new employee at most places)you won’t get the plumb work assignments nor will you get to work only on things you think will be interesting and helpful to you. Some of your tasks are dictated by what’s needed in the office at that time. If you can’t accept that as an intern, how will you accept that as an employee? Maybe the tasks she’s doing are designed for a specific purpose or to teach a basic industry lesson.And what if her assignments reflect her abilities. Does she think they’re just going to hand her a contract to negotiate? I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle of she got nothing from the experience and her expectations may not have been realistic.

    Either way, I hope she wins…because she’ll need the money to survive since she’s probably going to be blacklisted in this industry and many others for suing. I can’t imagine any employer googling her name, having this come up, and saying to themselves “yes, lets hire the litigious girl and hope she doesn’t sue us for anything later on.”

  16. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    She should not have accepted an unpaid internship, if she wanted to get paid. Period. I interned for free many times before getting paid, most of which just gave me busy work. I was able to get something out of the experience because I was creative, and a self-starter. When working on the Hill, I created reports for the member.. just because. I created new databases, just because… A company will hire someone that can push the bottom line, and what a better time to that that then when you don’t have any real responsibilities.

  17. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    People get internships to learn about their industry. Making the interns get coffee, wrap gifts, answer phones or whatever is all well and good as long as you are also giving them experience and insight into their industry of choice.

  18. August 21, 2013 - Reply

    The problem is employers who post job reqs that masquerade as internships, but actually turn out to be the work of a full time employee. Those two are in fact very different. I had a similar issue with one prior boss who hired an extra analyst for our team instead of hiring a VP, which we absolutely needed, just to cut costs. It frustrated the analyst enough for him to leave before even completing half of his rotation with our department, and it set not only slowed our department down even further, it put us worse off when he left than when he came. When you need more help, you hire more help with commensurate wages.

    Interns aren’t free labor — you can’t use them to fill in production gaps. That’s called slavery. Internships are arrangements that allow a company to groom a potential industry-candidate in exchange for hands on experience. That arrangement should only happen when an employer has the time and resources to dedicate to that interns growth. Anyone who is advertising an internship as a glorified gopher position is cheating the intern out of time, money, and experience; and anyone who is advertising an internship as an underpaid employee is violating labor laws. The intern shadows, replicates, practices, and observes business practices. The intern does not take ownership, fill in, answer for, or direct business operations.

    All that being said, based on the article, I don’t really see where Ms. Rashida took on full-time employee responsibilities. From what I read, she was being treated like a volunteer. Although, the article, nor her quotes, really seemed to go deep into all that was done over those three months.

    I will say, this article does drive home one of the points I made on that “what I wish I knew about finances back in college” article: NEVER EVER take an unpaid internship, EVER, when there are so many paid internships available in your major, and often paying more than what you would make as an entry level FTE (unless you were slacking all year and didn’t start applying until all the paid positions were filled). Save your volunteer hours for a humanitarian cause; get paid for your career.

  19. August 22, 2013 - Reply

    The biggest problem with unpaid internships is you’re not learning anything. You’re not working with professionals, you’re probably getting coffee and running errands and that’s not fair.

  20. August 22, 2013 - Reply

    Paid internships are hard to come by. I wish there were more paid positions for students. I was a political science major in undergrad and wanted so badly to do an internship in DC. There was no way I could afford housing, transportation, and food. Nor could my parents. I ended up doing some volunteer internships and working on campaigns locally. So it all worked out.

    It just seems that unpaid internships give an extra leg up to affluent kids.

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