Thursday, June 20, 2013

Unpaid internships may be on way out

Unpaid internships have long been a staple for upwardly scratching grads--usually in glam industries like movies, advertising, publishing or some other field where just putting in the hours was supposed to be an honor.

Not so fast.

A federal judge in NY ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on the movie "Black Swan."

Up to one million unpaid internships are offered in the US each year.

These could be looked at as exploiting youngsters and driving down wages. And at a time when kids have a big burden of school debt.

The two who sued Fox Searchlight organized file cabinets, tracked purchase orders, made copies, drafted cover letters and fetched coffee.

They got some benefits in that they learned how a production office works and could put it on their resume--but the jobs were not designed to benefit them.

The Dept of Labor requires that the internship must be similar to an educational environment, run for the benefit of the intern, and the intern's work should not replace an paid employee.

What about college credit for the work? That was not mentioned.

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