Conde Nast Could Bring The End of Unpaid Internships
A lawsuit by two former interns has caused media giant Conde Nast to end their unpaid internship program, the most recent instance in a trend of legal cases targeting sub-minimal wage labor that could be the end of unpaid internships as we know them.
Conde Nast, the parent company of magazines like The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, and dozens of other publications, websites, and mobile applications, is being sued by two former interns claiming they were paid less than minimum wage for their summer jobs. Although the case is still pending, Conde Nast has opted to end their internship program after this year.
Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures broke laws by not paying two interns who worked on the film “Black Swan.” Another former intern has sued the Warner Music Group for unpaid work and last year, Hearst Magazines was sued by eight former interns.
With plenty of disgruntled interns ready to take their case to court, judges are cracking down on labor laws that strictly define internship status. With many schools no longer accepting internships as course credit and businesses potentially opening themselves up to lawsuits by taking on unpaid interns, the concept of unpaid internships may soon be a thing of the past.
While this could have negative effects on the job prospects of millions of college students, it does do away with a popular practice that has been used by countless businesses to get free labor without having to pay an employee. It also makes the workplace a safer place for young upstarts. In New York, a judge recently ruled that unpaid interns cannot sue their bosses for sexual harassment since they aren’t technically employees.
Overall, unpaid internships certainly have some advantages but only 37 percent of unpaid interns get entry level job offers, compared with 60 percent of paid interns. Hopefully the end of unpaid internships doesn’t mean the end of internships but the growth of paid internships.