Recent Lawsuit Casts Doubt on Unpaid Internships


On Tuesday, Manhattan’s Federal District Court ruled against Fox Searchlight Pictures in favor of two interns employed during the filming of “Black Swan”. These interns had a pretty standard experience: they got coffee, they answered phones, they did heavy lifting and they didn’t get paid. The basic argument of the plaintiffs was that the tasks that they performed were not “educational”, the justification for unpaid internships being that they provide a learning experience, and that many paid employees performed the exact same tasks that they did. So far, it is uncertain as to what the ramifications of this ruling will mean for businesses that use interns. It’s also uncertain whether Fox want to appeal this case to the Supreme Court. According to NBC, one million undergraduates around the country work internships every year, and only half of those internships are paid. In the ruling, Judge Pauley called for the following of the Department of Labor’s guidelines on unpaid internships, which says that the internship should be similar to vocational training and not to the direct benefit of the employer. For companies that use interns, this ruling as well as similar cases in the past year may spell the end of the unpaid internships in America. To read the news brief from NBC, click the link below.

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