Why the New Internship Ruling is Bad for College Students

by Evil HR Lady on June 18, 2013

When a U.S. federal judge ruled that Fox Searchlight had illegally not paid a couple of interns, people started to freak out. This is fantastic! Now all interns will be paid! Yeah, peace on earth! Prosperity for all!

Make no mistake. The law has not changed. This ruling is not shocking. The former interns won at the summary judgment phase, which means there was no courtroom drama. (“And then the boss told me to get lunch!” countered with, “He volunteered! It wasn’t part of his assigned duties!”) It just means that the court considered what happened and said, “Well, this was patently wrong.”

What has changed is people’s perceptions of the law. And while it is a good thing that companies will not be able to blatantly break the law, the end result will be bad for college students.

To keep reading, click here: Why the New Internship Ruling is Bad for College Students

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

College Career Counselor June 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I understand your point, Suzanne, and I agree that many places will decide not to have interns. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think about the massive numbers of students who cannot AFFORD to do an unpaid internship and are thus far more disadvantaged to pursue that industry than their peers who can manage an unpaid internship?

When I was a college student back in the 80s, I couldn’t afford the unpaid political internship, the unpaid (and credit-requiring, which is another issue) media internship, or the unpaid non-profit internship. I worked fast-food, I worked stuffing envelopes, as maintenance personnel in a hospital, drove a truck, etc. All of which because I needed money to go back to school. None of those jobs helped me develop transferrable skills for the positions I have had since, but it certainly would have been helpful to gain some professional/career skills and try out some different fields during the summers.

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Evil HR Lady June 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm

It’s true that it certainly is easier on college students to be paid, but it’s also true that the number of available internships will drop.

And, the students who are most likely to need the money are those who don’t have parents with connections. Which means that those who are disadvantaged will be even more disadvantaged.

It’s a no win situation.

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Elizabeth West June 19, 2013 at 4:25 am

This makes me nervous; I’m trying for another degree, one which does require an internship. With any luck, I can do it for my current employer.

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Jean B June 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm

What’s the big deal about following the requirements that allow an intern to be unpaid? That way everyone wins…the company gets free labor, the law isn’t broken and the intern gains relevant experience.

Or, the company can just give the interns minimum wage. The two workers in this article were working on the Black Swan movie which grossed over $300 million. It would seem a few hundred bucks in wages wouldn’t have been too insurmountable a challenge to budget for.

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