Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Unpaid internships come under scrutiny

A recent decision favoring the plaintiffs in an unpaid internship lawsuit in federal district court has led to more suits being filed against employers who use unpaid interns. It was decided by Judge William H. Pauley III, federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., (11 Civ. 6784 (WHP) decided June 11, 2013) that two interns working on the set of the film Black Swan should have been paid, given that the work they accomplished did not meet the six criteria used for determining that an internship may be unpaid, as published in a fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Labor. The judge determined that Fox Searchlight violated the minimum wage law when it failed to pay its interns for their work. The New York Times reported the day after the decision that “ Two former interns filed a lawsuit against Condé Nast on Thursday, saying the company failed to pay them minimum wage at their summer jobs at W Magazine and The New Yorker, and asked that it be approved as a class-action suit.” The ABA Journal reports that the Hearst (publishing) Corp. which has been defending the use of unpaid interns, is supporting the plaintiffs in their request for an interlocutory appeal of a recent trial court ruling in order to obain federal appellate court clarification on the topic.
   Legal commentators at BU,  Business Insider , the Law of Work blog (Canada) and others are  predicting a flurry of lawsuits and saying the days of unpaid internships may be numbered.

No comments: