Is It the End of the Line for Unpaid Internships?

By: Rachel D. Gebaide

October 24, 2013

The fall-out from the spate of unpaid wage lawsuits by unpaid interns continues.  According to the New York Times, publishing giant Condé Nast announced the closure of its internship program, which was popular among aspiring journalists seeking experience – and a foothold — in the magazine industry.  The story can be found here.

Condé Nast is not the only company facing wage claims by current or former unpaid interns.  Earlier this year, a federal district court judge ruled against movie producer Fox Searchlight Pictures and in favor of two unpaid interns seeking wages for their work on the hit movie, Black Swan.  As discussed in the Black Swan ruling and in a previous post, businesses seeking to continue or launch unpaid internship programs are advised to evaluate the program and determine whether it meets the U.S. Department of Labor’s criteria for a bona fide unpaid internship program, or whether the program can be modified to achieve compliance.

In a related discussion, the Huffington Post examined what an “intern” means to a business.  The article discusses how and why internship programs can be valuable both to the intern and to the company’s bottom line.  The article also advocates for paid internships, which is the best formula for avoiding a claim for wages by an unpaid intern.

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