Unpaid Intern: maybe not as free as companies once hoped

Workers’ rights, such things as health insurance, retirement accounts, paid time off, are fading into the past in today’s difficult job market. So I was happy to see at least one corporate attempt to get something for nothing threatened recently.

A court has ruled against the use of unpaid interns. Such positions are the norm in the media business where I spent most of my career. I always argued for paying interns when I was in middle management but those arguments often were ignored by senior managers who couldn’t pass up the something for nothing option.
Now companies may have to pay up for all those free hours.

Using students as unpaid interns is under challenge.

Using students as unpaid interns is under challenge.

“A judge’s ruling on June 11 that Fox Searchlight violated minimum wage laws by not paying interns is likely to embolden other potential plaintiffs. They had been gathering anyway, filing new lawsuits against Conde Nast on June 14 and Gawker Media on June 21, alleging that each company had violated laws by failing to pay minimum wage,” reports Ad Age.

“The statute of limitations in New York for cases involving wage and labor issues is six years, legal experts said, meaning thousands of former interns could potentially bring suits or join class actions against their former employers,” the early June report continued.

It’s nice to see that in an age when unions have lost the power to protect workers that the courts may finally be doing so instead.
John N. Frank

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This entry was posted in finding a first job, job hunting, Job search tips, working conditions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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