Thursday, March 15, 2012

Use of Interns In The Workplace

This story from the Hollywood Reporter is very interesting...and scary.  We all know how students and recent college graduates come looking for any chance to get in the door, often willing to intern for no pay. I certainly did, and I did a lot of work and put in a lot of time I didn't get paid for (and it was more like 60 hours a week).  I was happy to do it - it paid off.   Here's the way some interns feel about it.

The entertainment industry has been hit with another challenge on the low-level labor front as a former intern at the Charlie Rose show has filed a class action over alleged violations of New York's wage laws.

Lucy Bickerton lodged the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court, alleging that she wasn't paid despite working 25 hours a week for three months in the summer of 2007. The complaint was filed on behalf of all other unpaid interns who have worked on the show in the past five years. Bickerton says there were 10 other interns working for Rose during the time she spent on the show.

The plaintiff, a 2008 graduate of Wesleyan University, says her duties included assembling background research and press packets, escorting guests, digesting Rose's interviews and cleaning.

She joins others who have brought similar suits in recent months, including a intern suing fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar and former interns suing Fox Searchlight after working on Black Swan.

The Fair Labor Standards Act has typically been interpreted to allow companies to have unpaid interns if there's educational benefit involved, but the Labor Department has also made it clear that interns can't replace regular employees. In the Bickerton lawsuit, it's alleged that "“unpaid interns are becoming the modern-day equivalent of entry-level employees, except that employers are not paying them for the many hours they work.”

Here is a link to the story:

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