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Federal Judge Says Interns Should Be Paid

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the businesses-hate-it-so-it-must-be-right dept.

Businesses 540

An anonymous reader writes "Student interns are typically relegated to menial tasks like fetching coffee and taking out the trash, the idea being that they get paid in experience instead of money. On Tuesday, Manhattan Federal District Court Judge William H. Pauley disagreed, ruling in favor of two interns who sued Fox Searchlight Pictures to be paid for their work on the 2010 film Black Swan. The interns did chores that otherwise would have been performed by paid employees. Pauley ruled, in accordance with criteria laid out by the U.S. Department of Labor, that unpaid internships should be educational in nature and specifically structured to the benefit of the intern, and reasoned that if interns are going to do grunt work like regular employees, then they should be paid like regular employees." The article seems to imply that this might be the beginning of the end for the rampant abuse of unpaid internships: "Judge Pauley rejected the argument made by many companies to adopt a 'primary benefit test' to determine whether an intern should be paid, specifically whether 'the internship’s benefits to the intern outweigh the benefits to the engaging entity.' Judge Pauley wrote that such a test would be too subjective and unpredictable."

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Genius judge (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43985931)

If you have to pay interns like regular employees, what's the point of hiring interns?

Re:Genius judge (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43985943)

It's not the judge's job to defend the internship concept.

Re:Genius judge (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985985)

I'm so glad you're here to dictate what peoples' jobs really are or are not.

Re:Genius judge (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43986083)

Well, say goodbye to internships...

While rulings like this are well meaning, they will hurt more than help in many cases.

Much like minimum wage, making it higher...a living wage, hurts low end job markets. It isn't MEANT to be a living wage for supporting a family. These jobs are for kids, living at home still or maybe in college...

We need these jobs that teach kids skills, and/or allow them to start to earn money, and find out what it entails for working a job, dependability and responsibility, and how to manage money.

Kids still often get school credits for these internships, no?

Re:Genius judge (5, Insightful)

pellik (193063) | about a year ago | (#43986129)

There are plenty of paid internships out there already. The paid internships are actually much more likely to get the student a real job after college, too. Also remember that the students are still paying tuition for the credit hours their internship earns them.

Re:Genius judge (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986151)

We need these jobs that teach kids skills, and/or allow them to start to earn money, and find out what it entails for working a job, dependability and responsibility, and how to manage money.

They can't very well learn to manage money when they aren't earning any.

Re:Genius judge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986197)

Right. But interns? I mean if they gotta get paid, the dick sucking is still a freebie, right?

some schools make you pay for the credits (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43986161)

some schools make you pay for the credits so work for free and pay to get credit for it.

Re:some schools make you pay for the credits (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43986243)

Some schools have enrollment and un-enrollment forms for this reason. Also, when was an internship ever about credits rather than getting your foot in the door?

Re:some schools make you pay for the credits (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43986281)

When I did mine?
I had to do 9 months worth. It was a requirement for graduation. Had to be paid and had to be in the field of my degree.

Re:Genius judge (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43986199)

I did 9 months of paid internships to get my degree. Unpaid internships would not have counted.

They are not coffee fetching jobs.

Re:Genius judge (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43986221)

Agreed, in most societies people like the ones that sued in this case would be called ingrates and barred from further work with the wherever they're interning. I mean its written out for you when you intern what to expect, and if you feel like you shouldn't have to do it you can say no. I don't think this is going anywhere though, the judge is clearly bat-shit stupid.

Re:Genius judge (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43986313)

In most societies it would have been illegal to have them working without pay. What to expect does not make that legal. The judge is correct.

Re:Genius judge (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986521)

I mean its written out for you when you intern what to expect, and if you feel like you shouldn't have to do it you can say no.

And I've seen internship descriptions that are shown to incoming interns that are general, and along the lines of learning to use technology and techniques related to the field, and a chance to contribute to a real world project. They don't write out if the intern is going to spend most of that time carrying boxes, fetching coffee, and doing secretarial work. I've seen an internship that was advertised as getting real world experience with database design and maintenance, that amounted to the student doing manual data entry from old paperwork, never actually touching a database beyond the single entry form they were given. By the time they are that far along to realize that it won't live up to their expectations or what the write up said, it may be too late to get a different internship, and quitting might mess up their school program. While there are usually provisions for an internship being bad, some just keep quiet and move on with their lives afterward.

Re:Genius judge (5, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#43986415)

Well, say goodbye to internships...

Try having a look at a country where this has long been established in law, and you'll find internships are flourishing.

What we've said goodbye to is the exploitation of free labour to do menial tasks that offered no real benefit to the intern. There's a great scheme in Scotland where the enterprise development agency funds internships for students/recent graduates at new startups. There are strict conditions attached to the money, as the internship has to be directly related to a specific project, so that the intern is exposed to the full lifecycle and gets genuine experience to talk about at interview. This gives the businesses the opportunity to take a chance on something new or different, benefiting everyone. (Normally.) In fact, there's a great history of companies taking on their interns after, as these companies are at a stage of rapid expansion.

Re:Genius judge (4, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#43985965)

If you have to pay interns like regular employees, what's the point of hiring interns?

Because some of them are good enough that you will want to employ them later but you can't really tell which ones from a conventional interview.

Personally I think no-one should be employed for zero pay, interns are not slaves.

Re:Genius judge (4, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43985993)

There are jobs that people really, really, really want to do for zero pay. Why wouldn't you allow them to make that decision for themselves?

Re:Genius judge (2, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#43986063)

That's called volunteering and is not a "job".

Re:Genius judge (4, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43986127)

There are jobs that people really, really, really want to do for zero pay. Why wouldn't you allow them to make that decision for themselves?

Why don't we allow people to sell themselves into slavery? Because as a society we long ago decided that slavery was immoral. Why don't we allow people to contract themselves into a period of indentured servitude? Because as a society we long ago decided that indentured servitude was immoral. Why don't we allow people to work for profit-making corporations without being paid for their labor? Because as a society we long ago decided...

Note that unpaid internships are legal in 2 broad circumstances: first, of course, working for a non-profit entity, second where the intern is being trained and not performing immediately useful work for the company.

Re:Genius judge (0, Flamebait)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43986175)

There are jobs that people really, really, really want to do for zero pay. Why wouldn't you allow them to make that decision for themselves?

Why don't we allow people to sell themselves into slavery?

Interns aren't allowed to walk away from a company that mistreats them? Modern slave owners are allowed to whip and kill their interns?

I did not know that.

Re:Genius judge (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43986271)

You've never met a personal assistant for some CEO have you? :)

Also, I agree with OP, make your own decisions, and then take responsibility for them. If you need your hand held, tty mom.

Re:Genius judge (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43986279)

It's not slavery. It is a way for young people with no experience and no valuable skills to contribute to the employer in exchange for money, to instead trade their labor for work experience which they can later use to make real money. The concept of apprenticeship has been around for centuries and nobody ever said it was immoral until you just did.

Re:Genius judge (2)

pellik (193063) | about a year ago | (#43986145)

Students still pay tuition when they do internships. Volunteering is free, this is pay to work.

Re:Genius judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986209)

There are jobs that people really, really, really want to do for zero pay. Why wouldn't you allow them to make that decision for themselves?

Name one.

As a constraint, that one must be a job that people actually WANT to do for zero pay, not a situation where people have no choice in the matter because employers can simply get away with slave labor. That is, the key terms are "want" and "for zero pay", not "want" and "to do".

Re:Genius judge (2)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about a year ago | (#43986285)

There are several comic books I'd write for in exchange for zero pay. I worked stage crew for several concerts in college for zero pay, entirely voluntarily. Both examples are for-profit enterprises.

good enough does not work for office boy interns (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43986173)

good enough does not work for office boy interns where they don't even do real work / do stuff they are not going to school for.

Re:Genius judge (0)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43986189)

Unlike slaves, Interns actually choose to become interns.

Re:Genius judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986305)

The company that cannot tell whether a candidate is worth hiring or not through its interview process deserves to go out of business. These are likely the same companies that have HR personnel being the level one screeners for engineering, account, etc. talent, areas in which they have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of the domain.

These are interns, not full-time employees. If things do not work out, it is a simple matter to fire the intern with no other obligations. Unpaid internships are an invitation to abuse, especially since some colleges now require a completed internship as a condition to graduation.

Re:Genius judge (2)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#43986495)

Sometimes I hire unpaid interns. They're really completely useless to the organization. We hire them in the hopes of finding future talent, maybe they have an eye that we can train for our needs, etc. But they really need to be trained first, and this training doesn't benefit us at all.

This is what internship programs are supposed to be. Their "work" isn't supposed to benefit the organization. Sure you can tell them to get coffee, but that isn't work that benefits anyone. You can tell them to file papers or write an article or lay out some copy all day, but an actual senior employee would have it done in seconds, without handholding them all day on what to do..

Internships really are for the benefit of the interns.

But if we're supposed to pay them? That's really going to end that.

At least co-ops did useful work, but they're paid.

Re:Genius judge (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about a year ago | (#43986515)

Then tell someone "I am hiring you for 2 weeks at minimum wage, to see how well you do".

Re:Genius judge (3, Insightful)

54mc (897170) | about a year ago | (#43985969)

The only point I can see is that even if they have to be paid, you still have perfectly legitimate reason to pay them less than you would someone else doing the same work.

The real problem is the racket they've got going. You can't get a job without experience and the only experience you can get is going to be unpaid or underpaid labor doing the exact same job

Re:Genius judge (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43986251)

I never understood how companies got away with this kind of stuff in the USA. I'm from Canada, and I've never heard of an unpaid intership happening here. If it does, I don't know why anybody would go for it. In university, we had a Co-op programme which required us to alternate between semesters of school and work. Took a little longer to finish your degree (but only a little bit more, we were either working or in school year round, and work only started after second year). After we graduated, we had 16 months of paid work experience. They didn't pay us as much as regular employees, but it wasn't minimum wage work either. And the co-op coordinators at the school ensured we were doing real work and not just fetching coffee and making photo copies.

Re:Genius judge (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | about a year ago | (#43986425)

yup same, in college I did a total of 8 months of intern, fully paid, didn't hear of anyone getting unpaid. And the pay was actually somewhat decent for living with parents, first 4 month internship extrapolating to a yearly salary was 38k second one was 30k. All of my friends were all in the 28k-45k range as well

Re:Genius judge (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43986509)

Same here, in USA, about $30k if I had been employed a whole year. Mine was on the low end.

Re:Genius judge (5, Insightful)

saihung (19097) | about a year ago | (#43985975)

The "point" of hiring interns is to provide them with an educational experience. That's why you don't have to pay them - because they show up primarily for their own benefit and provide few, if any, benefits to the host organization. People who show and do valuable work for you are called "employees," and the thing about employees is that they have a legal right to be paid. Once upon a time, businesses understood this and hired seasonal workers (students on summer vacation) for a small salary. Nowadays every imbecile thinks that an "intern" is a source of free labor. Wrong.

If you want free labor and you're a for-profit business? Screw you. We have minimum wage laws for a reason. You are not allowed to make a profit off of someone's labor and not pay them. "Internship" is not a code word for "someone I can't be bothered to pay."

Re:Genius judge (5, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43986239)

I hope you get modded up, as your comment gets to the core of the issue very nicely. I just wanted to expand on this:

Nowadays every imbecile thinks that an "intern" is a source of free labor.

Yeah, I run a very small software dev business, and on a couple of occasions I have hired interns for the summer. Of course, as I hope everybody here knows, in our industry interns get paid, and pretty well...

A couple of times, in conversations with friends outside the industry, when this subject came up, there was a total disconnect. They wondered how the heck somebody like me could find interns, and it turned out that their bafflement was because they assumed that by "intern" I meant "unpaid". I was so shocked by this ridiculous assumption that the first time I was literally speechless for a few seconds while I processed the concept: "this person thinks that there are young people who will develop software for a for-profit entity without being paid, wtf...". Then I slowly explained: "no, in this industry employers consider it customary to pay our employees..."

Re:Genius judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986035)

They are easier to get rid of again.

Re:Genius judge (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#43986043)

2 off top of my head:
to promote interest in job fields
to pre-vet individuals who are interested in a job field

there are many paid internships. there are many more unpaid ones. unpaid ones are well known for being abused and doing nothing educational or related to the students curriculum, instead being simply a source of free labor.

Re:Genius judge (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43986107)

If you have to pay interns like regular employees, what's the point of hiring interns?

.. ? if you "hired" interns, you would pay them.
using interns for just manual labor nothing to do with the subject they're studying is just.. well, it's sort of cheating them and not just sort of, it's downright fraud against the school institutions as well who count them as course credit - of course those institutions are to be blamed for the abuse of the system as well since if they require "internship" for graduation but have no qualifiers on the actual work then they're pretty much just participating in free manual labor work experience without pay program. it's stupid for everyone involved except for those who sell their services to someone and pocket the cash(half of worlds magazine adverts are photoshopped and laid out by free interns - but the company still bills the client for their time and that's just nasty).

if they got nothing for the interns to internship in they shouldn't be taking them in. but free labor and intern bitches yayyyy so they take them even if they have no intention of teaching them anything or putting them into any work in the field their internship is supposed to be in.

there's of course all sorts of other reasons for putting the hammer on it, because otherwise soon you'll mcd will no longer have any employees - just permanent interns who get paid 1/10th of the minimum wage as "expenses" for their work.

Re:Genius judge (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about a year ago | (#43986147)

I personally believe that interns should be paid {maybe not the same as a regular employee} and that they should get hands on experience while interning. Which means they will need to do the work but in a supervised manner with someone who can educate them. This would benefit both the company and the student. The company gets a cut rate on some work and the student gets real experience.

Re:Genius judge (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#43986149)

"hired"

hire - to engage the services of a person for a fee
to engage temporary use of for a fee

If you aren't paid you aren't hired by definition.

Internships while in theory are for the benefit of the intern to get real world experience, it really is just an avenue for a company to enjoy free labor.

Re:Genius judge (1, Insightful)

Kevin108 (760520) | about a year ago | (#43986163)

This will lead to a lack of internships; a lack of a way to gain experience before you begin marketing yourself as someone with skill in a given field. For many companies, if they have to pay interns, they simply won't create such positions.

Re:Genius judge (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43986261)

Not at all.
I did 9 months of paid internships during college. It will just eliminate coffee fetching jobs which is a good thing for the interns.

Re:Genius judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986177)

Are you stupid. Hiring interns is an easy way to vet trough many people at the same time and keep just one - the best suited for the job, while the others can't really object being fired. That is how it works in the rest of the world. They are different from temp non-full time workers in many ways.

Re:Genius judge (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | about a year ago | (#43986325)

Well could have a lower minimum wage for intern, or have tax breaks for companies who hire interns, etc

Re:Genius judge (4, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43986329)

If you read the article you would have found out that the "interns" were actually unpaid workers. From the article: "The judge noted that these internships did not foster an educational environment and that the studio received the benefits of the work." The judge correctly ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures did not followed the criteria laid out by the U.S. Department of Labor. (You didn't even have to read the article - it's in the summary too). The criteria linked above is a good read btw.

It's about damn time the government went after the abuse. It doesn't affect our interns since (1) they are paid a stipend and (2) it is actually educational and benefits them way more than us. We use interns to foster growth in research. The movie industry use interns for free labor.

Re:Genius judge (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986351)

I suspect what TFS meant to say was that since the interns were doing work, just like regular employees were doing work, then the interns should get paid.

I doubt the judge ruled on *how much* those interns would get paid.

Re:Genius judge (4, Insightful)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43986423)

I always assumed interns actually performed services in relation to what their field of study is. Fashion students do fashion work like costumes, makeup, jewelry making, etc. Journalism students check facts, review articles, report on local/low importance stories. Other students perform tasks actually related to their future job. And these tasks for all interns include some grunt work such as cleaning up the shop, checking supplies, pumping the bellows at the forge, whatever is needed.

But I don't think anyone goes to college to be coffee-handler or floor-sweeper. If that is the extant of their internship experience, they should be paid like the other employees. Or better, they should report that to their professor/school, and that company should be excluded from the internship choices. When their free labor pool disappears, they will stop abusing the process.

Re:Genius judge (1)

bkaul01 (619795) | about a year ago | (#43986445)

This may not apply to Hollywood, but in engineering and scientific research fields, hiring student interns is (1) far cheaper than having an experienced engineer or researcher do many of the more time-consuming low-level tasks, and (2) gives us kind of an extended interview period and lets us develop a relationship with them, so that if we've got a position open after they've finished their studies we already have an idea of whether they'd be good candidates.

Re:Genius judge (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#43986481)

For abuse and to get them to do things regular employees would quit over, of course.

And, of course, free "add-on" services, right? Right?!

If the companies aren't getting any use out of interns, would they take on interns? Most wouldn't.

So your argument is flat out wrong.

There goes the industry... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985961)

If interns have to get paid, there goes Hollywood, Print, and Radio media industries... Interns pretty much do everything these days.

Re:There goes the industry... (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#43985979)

If interns have to get paid, there goes Hollywood, Print, and Radio media industries... Interns pretty much do everything these days.

How about laying off some lazy fat management types to free up some money?

Re:There goes the industry... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986301)

If interns have to get paid, there goes Hollywood, Print, and Radio media industries... Interns pretty much do everything these days.

How about laying off some lazy fat management types to free up some money?

Exactly, like the GP said, there go the movie, print, and radio industries. Nothing anyone can do about it now but wait for the sweet embrace of death.

Wait, Hollywood would go belly-up? And we're complaining about this?

Re:There goes the industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986343)

Only if they lay off the idiot types like you.

Re:There goes the industry... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986227)

Not it doesn't. When I was 18 and 19 I had internships for a couple summers. I got minimum wage. That isn't going to break anybody. They just need to stick a crow-bar in their wallets. Come on! You're telling me that even $10/hr is going to raise the price of a ticket so much that it'll kill the biz? How many people could you hire at minimum wage for just 0.1% of Sony's revenue of $22.4 billion in Q4 2012? Ballpark, I get about 11,000 people.

Re: There goes the industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986269)

To the extent that's true doesn't it just suggest that the industry is broken?

Re:There goes the industry... (4, Insightful)

Whatsisname (891214) | about a year ago | (#43986395)

If those industries cannot survive without a large pool of free labor, then they should go the way of the dodo.

goodbye interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985983)

Hello Mexicans. In corporate Amerika the company always wins.

Fewer internships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985987)

All this means is that there will be fewer internships, thus fewer opportunities for unskilled students (or otherwise) to gain experience. Keep in mind that these students are working of their own free will.

Re:Fewer internships (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43986031)

Boohoo. Companies can't exploit as many people anymore! The horror!

Re:Fewer internships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986181)

All this means is that there will be fewer internships, thus fewer opportunities for unskilled students (or otherwise) to gain experience. Keep in mind that these students are working of their own free will.

The "Free Will" argument is bullshit in a system which uses fear and emotional/financial leverage to push people towards exercising their "Free Will" in the ways favored by exploitive entities.

I mean, at the extreme end you could say that a torturer is not to blame when the victim blurts out the names of friends and families. It was a choice, after all, right?

Basically, fuck off. Use your observational skills to measure the world around you instead of constructing bullshit arguments to make yourself feel happy about the status quo.

The system is being abused. Oppose it or accept it, but don't lie to yourself about it. Only cowards and retards do that.

Re:Fewer internships (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43986283)

All this means is that there will be fewer internships, thus fewer opportunities for unskilled students (or otherwise) to gain experience. Keep in mind that these students are working of their own free will.

So what?

No, really, think about your answer.

Eliminate this unethical source of free entry-level labor, and young people looking for first jobs will be competing against what level of experience?

Re:Fewer internships (2, Interesting)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43986373)

Working there of their own free will, so that they can gain experience, so that they can get a leg up when it comes time for applying for an Entry-level / Junior job, which they will not get, since it's more cost-effective to use free interns than what is now an 'expensive' employee.

See, a typical company has numerous regular employees, and takes on a handful of interns during the summer / other times. These positions used to be paid; they weren't paid well, compared to when the person actually graduated, but then, they weren't being paid much, and interns were closer to observer status than the backbone of the company. The only organizations who really ran with the unpaid internships were the peace / welfare / non-profit types, who would argue that they couldn't afford it, etc., etc., and people let them go with that because of morality.

Anyway, between the dotcom crash, the housing market crash, and so on, the market is getting so bad, that the business types, who occasionally need a reminder from their fore-bearers why certain lines are not crossed, decided to cross another line. "The market is bad, so all internships will now be unpaid" -> every-time the market takes a dip, a business type will try and cut something; it's almost like a play, and shows that their business is not being run well enough to weather the darker times. Anyway, like all bad ideas, it catches on; soon college students are spending their parent's money to drive to and from unpaid internships, on the gamble that it will all work out in the long run if they put the effort in. Between the rising cost of gas, rising cost of tuition, and senior-level positions being marketed as entry-level positions, they're rolling in debt, and the entire edifice is collapsing on itself.

But the real problem? The real problem, from a business perspective, is this. Suppose I have a company with 12 regular employees, and I pick up 3 paid interns. My rival has a company with 3 regular employees, and 12 unpaid interns. From a strictly fiscal aspect, he's probably going to be more cost-effective than I am. So I downsize all but 3 of my regular employees, and bring on 24 unpaid interns. He responds by firing all but one of his regular employees, and bringing on 36 unpaid interns. He's probably still winning, from a cost effective standpoint...but chances are, neither of our companies are producing much, the quality is going to be very variable, and the market is looking in horror at what has been created -> an incredibly unstable company, where the employees have little reason to be there, can leave in a heartbeat, and so on. The unpaid internship, like email spam and the old registrar's policy of 'trying a domain name for a month before paying for it,' has been abused; any company that cannot afford to pay for an internship (which rarely exceeds, what, the teens in terms of renumeration per hour?) is probably on shaky ground to begin with.

Re:Fewer internships (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | about a year ago | (#43986467)

Wrong. There is still the same work that needs to be done, and companies will still have it done whether it's done with free or cheap(er) labor. And if there are ones eliminated, those are probably the ones who are just getting coffee and other menial, non-educational tasks - the ones that should be eliminated anyway.

Ripple effect (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986009)

Unpaid internships are a huge crutch perpetuating class divisions here in the US. I wonder what will change now that rich kids no longer have the advantage of being able to say "I'll work for free."

Re:Ripple effect (0)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#43986105)

That's a very interesting point of view and I have no mod points.

Internships are hard work! (5, Insightful)

glassware (195317) | about a year ago | (#43986019)

An internship should clearly be:

- For a well-defined project;
- For a limited time;
- Paid (at a basic level);
- As much work for the employer as it is for the intern.

If you're not mentoring your interns heavily, you stand no chance of developing a talent pipeline. I wrote about my experiences with an internship program here: http://www.altdevblogaday.com/2012/04/18/lessons-learned-from-training-interns/ [altdevblogaday.com]

The critical aspect is that you have to have the available bandwidth to mentor and supervise an intern. You have to give them clear goals and a clear chance to succeed.

Re:Internships are hard work! (1, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43986155)

And who are you to decide that rather than the employer and the employee involved? You learn a lot just from being on a movie set, working in a hospital, or in a senator's office or in a science lab. These are experiences that are extremely hard to get and valuable and many people will gladly do them for free without any of your additional arbitrary conditions.

Re: Internships are hard work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986299)

I'm going to assume that you don't then support things like safety regulations....

Re:Internships are hard work! (4, Insightful)

Whatsisname (891214) | about a year ago | (#43986379)

By having them unpaid, you are essentially making those jobs only be accessible to people from wealthy families. Only people from wealthy families can afford to pay the bills while working for free. Everyone else has to find a paying job, which would then exclude them from being able to gain entry into those fields.

bye bye interns (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43986023)

In USA the internship is the only way for somebody to enter the labour force and actually learn on a job that they could not otherwise land most likely. The minimum wage laws and the socialist State agenda already made it impossible for people to take very low paid position only to be apprentices, so apprenticeship is dead in America because of the minimum wage.

Until now it was quite curious to see that a person couldn't be paid less than minimum wage even if he wanted to (in order to land his first job, where he could learn something rather than spending years in worthless education system, racking up the insurmountable debt.)

Obviously this judge thought that it is unfair to allow people to keep a loophole, where they could still start with a company at a low level by being interns and then learn and eventually progress forward, so if this stands then this would be the last nail in the coffin of apprenticeship in USA as we know it.

As always in the name of 'fairness' the government takes away opportunities. This is the same thing in this case as it is in all other such cases, including minimum wage laws, including various labour regulations that make it expensive to hire people that are just not economically viable at higher wages.

By the way, just count the number of stories in the news where government gets involved in whatever way and says: companies must do this and companies must do that, businesses have all these obligations, from taxes and health care to minimum wages and whatever benefits and conditions (free birth control for some reason, paying people in birth control?) What I want to say is that if you take a step back and look from a higher level at this, you'll see an amazing encroachment on the rights of individuals to agree with each other upon mutually beneficial conditions of employment or other forms of contracts and governments intervening in every aspect of every possible contract and business. You shouldn't be surprised at growing unemployment (and the only reason the gov't is able to declare unemployment as low as 7-8% right now is various accounting tricks, otherwise you'd know that the real unemployment in USA is about quarter of all people that can work).

Re:bye bye interns (1, Funny)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43986073)

This just in: corporate whore roman_mir is butthurt over ruling that doesn't kiss the ass of Corporate America.
Film at 11.

Re:bye bye interns (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#43986159)

Minimum wage is so low that any company who wants to grow their own talent can pay it painlessly.

The skilled trades, unlike various Elitist Fuck Corporations, pay their apprentices because otherwise said apprentices wouldn't be able to have food, clothing and shelter.Internships/apprenticeships are increasing as they are the (proven over CENTURIES) way to grow skilled tradespeople.

Re:bye bye interns (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#43986363)

In USA the internship is the only way for somebody to enter the labour force and actually learn on a job that they could not otherwise land most likely.

You are so right. An internship is for actually learning on a job. Doing grunt work and fetching coffee is not learning. It's working simple tasks. And work has to be paid.

Re:bye bye interns (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43986369)

The minimum wage laws and the socialist State agenda already made it impossible for people to take very low paid position only to be apprentices, so apprenticeship is dead in America because of the minimum wage.

Funny how high minimum wages and "socialism" to a degree much greater than in the US hasn't eradicated Germany's very popular system of apprenticeship.

And first-world countries that do not have minimum wage set by law tend to have minimum wage worked out in collective bargaining between a union and management (which then applies to all employees, union or non-union). Do you think that that would lower wages?

Finally years later.... (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about a year ago | (#43986029)

We have learned the lessons of Kramerica [youtube.com] and intern abuse.

it's not the judge... (5, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43986065)

Unpaid internships have always been very restricted according to labor laws. It has always been the case that many companies in the entertainment and publishing and fashion industries were breaking the law. What is new is simply that a few former interns got fed up enough with their treatment that they are ratting out their unethical non-employers ;-)

LIBERTARIAN ALERT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986081)

TO ARMS ! TO ARMS! Some judge is legislating form the bench that people can't freely enter into any contract they so desire !~!!

TIME FOR MORAL OUTRAGE!

Question- are all libertarians coke snorting sociopaths who long to the good old days of feudalism.

Or what?

Next! (-1, Troll)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43986099)

"Fine. Here's $5000. Now remove from your resume that you interned on Black Swan ."

Re:Next! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43986157)

"Fine. Here's $5000. Now remove from your resume that you interned on Black Swan ."

you know what sounds better than interned? that they worked on the black swan. beats interning any day of the week.

but the real point is that they'll have to start thinking about their internship policies and practices..

Re:Next! (1)

Imagix (695350) | about a year ago | (#43986217)

Sure, but now they get to add that they worked on Black Swan (and got paid for it) instead of just interned. Oh, wait. Now that they've been paid to work on Black Swan, they'll sue for not being credited for it.

Re:Next! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986359)

"Fine. Here's $5000. Now remove from your resume that you interned on Black Swan ."

No problem. I'll removed that I "interned" on it, and replace it with the fact that I "worked" on it.

Washington interns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986111)

Does this mean the kneepad earners are entitled to back pay at the same rate as the available escorts? Hearings coming to House and Senate?

Internship system (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43986125)

I can't comment on specifics, as I've never done an internship, but my impression is that the theory is to get the intern a little bit of exposure to the field they are trying to get into, with the byproduct of some internships leading to legitimate jobs or networking with those they interned with. However, if the internships are being used as an excuse to use these interns as nothing but grunt workers for tasks completely unrelated to their field, it seems the exercise is a waste on any but a networking level, and even then, they'd be cultivating contacts whom they will just resent anyway.

same thing with permatemps and misclassified contr (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43986133)

permatemps, contractors and so on are just other ways to get work for free / low cost and in the case of some contractors like fedex make them pay the costs of your business.

Re:same thing with permatemps and misclassified co (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986401)

Where I work, there are perma-temps going on years with the company, with less pay, no vacation, no reviews or raises. Meanwhile, while the perma-temps are repeatedly the highest performers, more recently-hired 'actual' employees have fairly abysmal performance. While I hate the idea that laws need to made to control every possible senerio in everyday life and business, it's difficult to find a non-governmental-controlled fair solution to both the employer and employees.

Need apprenticeships with real trainin in the IT / (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43986203)

Need apprenticeships with real training in the IT / field.

internships should be paid (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year ago | (#43986213)

I worked as an "intern" for 16 months for a telecom provider, and got what I considered to be a decent wage for it. (About 3/5 the starting wage for a fresh-out-of-school programmer at that company).

If someone wants to volunteer for a position on their own time, then that's okay--but that's not what I'd call an internship position, and the system shouldn't be set up to have people needing to volunteer full-time.

Long memory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986231)

Regardless of the outcome, there are now 2 interns who need to find a new career path, because they'll never work in that town again. Hollywood holds grudges, forever...

Leapfrog Technology Group abuses interns (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43986275)

Leapfrog Technology Group abuses interns

Here is the job add with some added mark up

Fun points are up 3 months full time with no pay

and they have the balls to say "This means that if you don't believe there is any value to 12 weeks of unpaid on the job training, then this opportunity is not for you. We're looking for those individuals with long term aspirations in mind, not someone simply looking for a paycheck."

added mark up start with --

What is an Information Technology Internship?

    An IT Internship is both an educational experience and a potential full time job after completion.

    An IT Internship teaches students how to apply existing skills to real-world environments.

    An IT Internship gives students the opportunity to learn new skills to better prepare for the competitive job market after graduation.

    An IT Internship offers a variety of positions in at various types of organizations.

--point 4 is part of payed jobs

We offer internships to highly motivated individuals who want to enhance their IT exposure while working for a technology company focused on consulting and managed IT support. Our IT operations are located both in Chicago's Loop. We are currently seeking two interns to assist with our outsourced support program for our client located in the Chicagoland area.

Desired Experience

1 - 2 years --For a Work for free job?

Desired Education

High School or higher --OK

Desired Technical Skills

Windows 7, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Remote Access, Remote Desktop, Active Directory Administration, Basic Group Policy. --ok

Desired Soft Skills

Additional third party application skills and network infrastructure a plus. Ability to heavily multitask, excellent written and verbal skills, ability to understand business concepts and operations, independent worker, punctual, professional, asks detailed questions.

Must enhance skills on their own time when necessary at home or in office. --so not only is this work for free it's work off the clock at home as well?

Job Description and Career Opportunity

Throughout the course of each day, Leapfrog Technology Group delivers the absolute highest quality and most reliable technical support and network design\implementation services to small and medium organizations between 5 to 150 computers with one or more servers. Leapfrog is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in the Midwest Region, focusing on network infrastructure, advanced network infrastructure and managed services. Established in 2002, the company employs a small group of highly capable senior engineers focused on providing IT strategy and ongoing operational support.

We are currently seeking candidates through our Campus Relations Program for our Information Technology Development Program. This program provides challenging assignments and exceptional growth opportunities. In your role as a Help Desk Analyst, you will expand your skill set by providing prompt and effective support for our clients technical needs. Additionally, Leapfrog has a web design division, provides hardware\software sales, provides project management services, and in this role, additional non technical skills will be developed. This internship requires heavy multitasking, use of technology software to ease the burden on the support specialist, and is extremely challenging. Even for seasoned IT professionals, a role as an IT consultant is a very challenging one. We believe that this will be a position in which the staff is held to the highest standards and will be held accountable to use Leapfrog's proven methodologies.

Must have the following qualities:

    Business savvy: You are smart and you understand the business implications of your ideas. You are successful in translating classroom training into workplace solutions.

    Results focused: You always give it your best but you're not satisfied until you've accomplished what you intended on completing.

    Solutions oriented: Problems excite you. Obstacles are merely challenges waiting to be overcome. You are not easily dissuaded from your goals.

    Personable: You will be interacting with all levels of employees and people from executive management, warehouse staff, and everyone in between.. You are comfortable with dealing with people from all walks of life.

    Geographically mobile: After completing support training, many assignments will be on site at client facilities. -So is that training at the end of internship or do you have to pay the costs getting to the site while still getting payed $0?

AND, above all---Pay attention to DETAIL.

Qualifications we seek:

    Undergraduate degree or certification in Information Technology, MIS or related discipline. --Wait you just said High School now you want a degree?

    Internship or co-op experience in a related field. We want to see how you've been able to supplement your education with real world situations and problems. --Want people who worked for free in the past to do it even more?

    Proficiency in Microsoft Office Tools (Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint). Experience with Windows Server, Exchange Server, and Windows 7 & XP client operating systems desired.

    A record of achievement. We want to see what you've accomplished. Show us examples from school, work or extra-curricular activities.

    Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and assignments to meet objectives.

    Must have ability to write client ready documentation, emails, proposals, and project plans with proper grammar, punctuation, as well as professional verbal support of the same.

What will you do on a day to day basis?

    Provide accurate and timely technology support and problem resolution to Leapfrog clients.

    Provide support for everyday support requests by phone, email, and on site support (you will ride along with Senior Engineers) related to workstation and server management, networking hardware, software and hardware malfunctions, user account creation and maintenance, etc. -at least you don't have to pay your own way to go from the office to the client site

    Interact and consult with clients to provide satisfaction, guidance, assistance, and follow up.

    Build rapport with Leapfrog clients and their end users to establish confidence, credibility, and high levels of co-operation.

    Train users by constant re-enforcement and assistance.

    You will essentially write your own ticket here and be able to create your value with every opportunity - which could potentially as it has in the past, fast track you into a full time position.

What career opportunities are available?

It depends. Within Leapfrog, there are limited opportunities for those without professional writing skills and the desire to work as a team when needed or as an individual at other times. But for those that possess those skills the opportunities are endless. Successful careers reflect an intern's ambition and drive to learn and apply skills to the work environment, but it also depends on Leapfrog business needs. We value employee development and have processes which will help you increase and develop your skill set, both technically and soft skills.

What do we offer?

    Opportunity to have an impact on the growth and path of both Leapfrog and our client organizations

    Opportunity for future growth and a longer term career either at Leapfrog or elsewhere

    Benefits package

    Free Technical Training

    Performance reviews and personal development plans

How long is the internship and do I get paid?

Our internships are dependent on your ability to grow. Generally, depending on your resume, the interviews, and your ability to handle the assigned tasks and instructions, your internship will be up to 12 weeks long. Meaning, after 2 to 3 months or so, if you're not able to keep up with the complexities and expectations of what our full time position requires, then your internship may only be 4 weeks long instead of the full 12 weeks.

In the first 8 weeks, our internship is a learning experience and prepares you for the real world. This means that if you don't believe there is any value to 12 weeks of unpaid on the job training, then this opportunity is not for you. We're looking for those individuals with long term aspirations in mind, not someone simply looking for a paycheck.

--internships are about learning and not doing the work of a full time position for free and 3 months is a very long time to work for free.

--looking for a paycheck is one thing and work for the mini wage is other thing (working for min wage is not just looking for a paycheck and who can pay at the costs for getting to work for 3 months for free much less others bills)

How do I apply? PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS ASKED BELOW!

Please submit a resume to this posting along with a separate synopsis of your experience, whether it's in IT or not. Write no more than a single page writing sample explaining why you believe you can succeed in this role, even if you haven't yet had an opportunity to work in the IT field. Lastly, provide your salary history including the company name, the role and the base hourly or annual pay.

--There must be alot of people who believe you can succeed in this role but the 3 months work for free is the hard part.

--salary history for a 3 months work for free job?

huh... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43986311)

The interns where I work have more perks, do less work, can leave any time they want, have unfettered access to just about anyone in the company AND get paid... often more than I do. They don't get benefits like heath insurance though... so there's that.

Why unpaid in the first place? (2)

zmaragdus (1686342) | about a year ago | (#43986327)

I don't get why internships were ever unpaid in the first place. In the course of training someone to do the job they are interning for, they end up providing some form of valuable work, even if it is at a lower level of effectiveness/efficiency than a highly-skilled employee. As an engineer, I have the good fortune of being in a field where internships are almost universally paid, and paid well for that matter. (Many engineering internships run from double to triple minimum wage.) Even my most basic intern experience (which is barely considered "engineering" by my standards) paid over double minimum wage (back in 2006). I can't fathom a sort of situation where an intern provides absolutely no useful work. Can anyone provide an example?

Re:Why unpaid in the first place? (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43986461)

Depends on the environment i guess. Some internship programs require the company to go through a lot of hoops dealing with the college and whatsnot, having structured training systems to incorporate those interns which require a lot of time from other people who could be doing 10x the work during that period, and basically, you're doing the intern a favor in exchange for some good will, reputation, and as a kind of long term interview process.

Most places I worked for paid interns (quite well in many cases), and asked basically nothing in return (the projects given to them were usually training projects, if they succeed, great, but usually they were just thrown away, because there was basically nothing 99% of students in their second year or so could do for us).

Then my previous job, where interns were given the most boring, annoying, tedious tasks, were asked to work long hours, and in the end weren't paid. That was just...wrong on so many levels.

Wouldn't have my job without an unpaid internship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986341)

I was never interested in the college route, and got lucky and got an unpaid internship when I was younger that blossomed in to a 13 year career. This ruling makes me sad because I know that my life would be way, way worse if I hadn't gotten that unpaid internship. I didn't have a degree or anything to offer the company that gave me the internship, just what I knew from hobby programming as a kid, which was why the unpaid part made so much sense.

This kind of ruling basically shuts off a great future for anyone who was like me, and that is bad news. If you don't want an unpaid internship, don't take one. But why rob someone who will benefit from it of the possibility to improve their lives? I'd probably working some shit job right now making minimum wage if I didn't have that opportunity.

Disable Ads (0)

HalAtWork (926717) | about a year ago | (#43986347)

Slashdot, I don't want to disable ads on my account, I believe you deserve to get whatever revenue it is from me. But if the stupid slide-over-the-page ads continue, that's going to annoy me so I will disable advertisements.

Nothing is free (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43986361)

so, why should work be any different?

Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43986399)

All he did was uphold the existing DOL laws. This isn't a change. At most, it is making people aware of abuses that occur in the name of student internships.

Another freedom gone (0, Flamebait)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43986463)

You used to be free to decide for yourself whether to take an unpaid internship. Now you can't. The internship police won't allow it. Because they know more about your life than you, so they'll be making your choices for you.

bad idea (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43986489)

Of course people should get paid if they were promised an internship but end up doing menial labor. But they have a simple solution: they can just walk away from their unpaid internship without losing anything. If you voluntarily stay in an unpaid internship, presumably you are getting something out of it.

The insidious effect of this rule will be to place organizations providing good unpaid internships at a much higher legal risk, because the organizations that provide them now have to worry about getting dragged into court by a disgruntled intern for back pay. That not only means they are going to be less likely to have interns in the first place, it also means that interns who can't clearly contribute at a high level from day one have to be kicked out right away.

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