Marvel Sued by Intern in Class Action Wage Lawsuit

Marvel Sued by Intern in Class Action Wage Lawsuit

Marvel Entertainment

Intern Kenneth Jackson who worked at Marvel in 2008 claims he was "wrongfully" classified and denied minimum wage while at the company.

Kenneth Jackson, a former intern at Marvel Entertainment, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company on Monday in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. In the suit, Jackson claims he unfairly denied "minimum wages" while working for Marvel, and was "wrongfully" classified as an intern. According to the documents obtained by The Wrap, Jackson, who's from Lancaster, PA, states he worked at Marvel from August 2008 to December 2008 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days per week, and that the company owes him back pay. Jackson is seeking to "recover unpaid minimum wages owed," with the documents saying that all of Marvel's New York interns were treated with the same faulty "employment practices, policies, and procedures" as Jackson, and includes "in excess of 100 individuals."

Jackson is asking Marvel Entertainment for "all compensation, including minimum wages, which [he was] deprived," in addition to court costs and attorney fees. Marvel Entertainment is the parent company of both Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios. In 2009, Disney acquired Marvel and all its assets to the sum of $4.6 billion dollars. To date, Marvel Entertainment, nor Disney have responded to media inquiries.

We'll post an update if and when more info becomes available.

Source: The Wrap

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So an intern was wrongfully classified as an intern? If I recall correctly, you can be paid less, or not at all as an intern and since he was in fact an intern, I don't see what claim he has. I'm going to be doing an internship in November and December, and I have to pay to do it, and I don't get any compensation. The point of an internship is to get some extra experience to get your foot in the door in the industry/field that you are part of. If he's going with the fact that he worked 40 hours a week as an intern, he was still an intern. Maybe I'm confused about what exactly is being argued, and that I know nothing about these laws.

An intern didn't know he was an intern? I find that hard to believe. His first pay check (or lack there of) should have been an indicator of what he'd be making.

How on Earth did he work there for five months without realizing he wasn't being paid? I doubt he'll have a leg to stand on.

As an aside,

>tfw I'm an intern
>tfw I'm paid double minimum wage

Super Cyborg:
So an intern was wrongfully classified as an intern? If I recall correctly, you can be paid less, or not at all as an intern and since he was in fact an intern, I don't see what claim he has. I'm going to be doing an internship in November and December, and I have to pay to do it, and I don't get any compensation. The point of an internship is to get some extra experience to get your foot in the door in the industry/field that you are part of. If he's going with the fact that he worked 40 hours a week as an intern, he was still an intern. Maybe I'm confused about what exactly is being argued, and that I know nothing about these laws.

Interns can actually be paid quite well depending on the industry. For example I know several people whom where computer science majors and they all got upwards of $20/hour. It really depends on how much you can to the company whether you get paid or not. Interns in tech/engineering fields are paid more often then not because of this. There is a big push right now to change the rules of internships because companies are getting free labor, and the students aren't seen as getting sufficient educational compensation.

I do agree with you though that this guy does not really have a leg to stand on. A person being legally employed by a large company, like Marvel, is going to have a employment contract that says what they are making. If you agreed to work as an intern for free that is what you are.

Booklover13:

Interns can actually be paid quite well depending on the industry. For example I know several people whom where computer science majors and they all got upwards of $20/hour. It really depends on how much you can to the company whether you get paid or not. Interns in tech/engineering fields are paid more often then not because of this. There is a big push right now to change the rules of internships because companies are getting free labor, and the students aren't seen as getting sufficient educational compensation.

I do agree with you though that this guy does not really have a leg to stand on. A person being legally employed by a large company, like Marvel, is going to have a employment contract that says what they are making. If you agreed to work as an intern for free that is what you are.

Ah, ok. I'm in the Marine Biology field, and most internships you have to pay for. Most of it is because it's either non-profit organizations or researchers doing research, and they need both help and funds to get what they want done. It's a situation where the people get help and funds, and the intern gets experience. The big problem is that there are ones that are asking for quite a bit of money for a week of help, and most people can't do them till they have a job which they can earn money to do them.

As for the Marvel part, agreed. It's even worse that he waited 6 years later to bring it forward. We don't know the details, but asking for the pay you didn't get for those 4 months 6 years later probably won't be that much, If it was in fact minimum wage that he wants, he might get a few grand at most. Seems like a pointless thing to do, but until I hear more I can't give a full opinion.

Spaceman Spiff:
An intern didn't know he was an intern? I find that hard to believe. His first pay check (or lack there of) should have been an indicator of what he'd be making.

I think it probably went more like this:

Kenneth: Hi, Marvel! I'm so honored that you're giving me a job here!
Marvel: Job? Um... yeah... about that...
Kenneth: Yes?
Marvel: This is an unpaid internship.
Kenneth: Wait, what?
Marvel: But it's okay! You'll get valuable experience and the ability to put on your resume that you worked with us!
Kenneth: Hmm... I guess that's fine, although I'm pretty sure the guy who told me to come in said it was for a job...
Marvel: Don't sweat the details!

(5 years later, that blurb on the resume still hasn't amounted to shit)

Kenneth: Sonova...

*Note: This could entirely be a wrong depiction of how it went.

Of course, quickly googling the legal rulings on internship, you can't just slap "unpaid internship" on everything in your workplace. If any of the work he did in that office benefited Marvel's business in addition to any personal experience it gave him (or worse, if it only benefited Marvel and not him), then he does have a legal leg to stand on. He'd only need one example of this; it wouldn't need to have been a common occurrence. That said, interning 40+ hour weeks for 5 months might produce an example or two at the minimum. Also, you guys seem to be neglecting that the article says it's a class action lawsuit. He's not the only one with this grievance. Not all class actions win their cases, but class actions don't usually form unless there is a relatively solid foundation for a case, so...

Marvel better hope none of its staff took advantage of him being there to lighten their own workloads.

Booklover13:

Super Cyborg:
So an intern was wrongfully classified as an intern? If I recall correctly, you can be paid less, or not at all as an intern and since he was in fact an intern, I don't see what claim he has. I'm going to be doing an internship in November and December, and I have to pay to do it, and I don't get any compensation. The point of an internship is to get some extra experience to get your foot in the door in the industry/field that you are part of. If he's going with the fact that he worked 40 hours a week as an intern, he was still an intern. Maybe I'm confused about what exactly is being argued, and that I know nothing about these laws.

Interns can actually be paid quite well depending on the industry. For example I know several people whom where computer science majors and they all got upwards of $20/hour. It really depends on how much you can to the company whether you get paid or not. Interns in tech/engineering fields are paid more often then not because of this. There is a big push right now to change the rules of internships because companies are getting free labor, and the students aren't seen as getting sufficient educational compensation.

I do agree with you though that this guy does not really have a leg to stand on. A person being legally employed by a large company, like Marvel, is going to have a employment contract that says what they are making. If you agreed to work as an intern for free that is what you are.

Actually the department of labor would disagree with you. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf

Basically there are 6 requirements for an internship to be unpaid:

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to
training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern;
and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the
internship.

So if Marvel classified work as an internship but then had the interns doing the work of a normal employee than that would mean that the person would need to be paid. Think of it like this. If walmart started doing internships where they just had people do the work of a normal associate and didn't' pay them that would be wrong.

I just started an internship that I thought would be really cool till I found out that the internship consisted of about 15 interns that aren't being paid being told to make an advanced web page (More complicated than the target corporate site, this is what the manager said) while having no professionals to work with us. Now doing work I don't have a problem with but when he is asking us to set up his business for free I have a problem. I got fired for telling him that the U.S. Law requires that we get paid. The Dept of Labor has heard from me cause taking advantage of students for free labor is pretty sick.

Depends what he was doing at the company. I wonder if his lawyers will act as unpaid interns...

Here is the thing, most unpaid internships are taken so that you can gain experience in the industry. If they are just having you fetch coffee and other such 'gopher' work, then you are not getting any experience and they have to pay you. It is only legal to have an unpaid employee if you are training them, and I think his argument is that he was told he would get experience and did not end up getting anything.

Federal Law is pretty clear on how to treat unpaid interns, and this guy might have a case.

You can't just say: "You're an unpaid intern! We're not going to pay you!" You have to, like FLSA distinguishes between Exempt and Non-Exempt employees, meet a set of standards to be unpaid. Most of that falls into the realm of educational extension, as in: Working for Marvel as part of your continuing education in film.

If, however, you're WORKING... as in, school is over, you're actually there performing work, then yeah, Marvel owes the guy money, at least minimum wage.

Employment Law is a lot more complicated than "I just do what I want whenever I want to do it."

l33t.heathen:

Basically there are 6 requirements for an internship to be unpaid:

Thank you. I was going to comment that you can't just call a job an internship and not pay the person. Now I don't have to go into any details, because you did my work for me.

Nocturnus:
Federal Law is pretty clear on how to treat unpaid interns, and this guy might have a case.

You can't just say: "You're an unpaid intern! We're not going to pay you!" You have to, like FLSA distinguishes between Exempt and Non-Exempt employees, meet a set of standards to be unpaid. Most of that falls into the realm of educational extension, as in: Working for Marvel as part of your continuing education in film.

If, however, you're WORKING... as in, school is over, you're actually there performing work, then yeah, Marvel owes the guy money, at least minimum wage.

Employment Law is a lot more complicated than "I just do what I want whenever I want to do it."

Someone already posted the standards, according to US Department of Labor:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to
training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern;
and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the
internship.

It doesn't say anything about # of hours worked or whether you're in school or not.

The only thing he might be able to argue is "The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern", but that's incredibly vague and any lawyer worth his salt will easily beat that.

He's going to lose this case because the precedent it would set if he wins would be extremely scary for most businesses, because now anyone who signs up for an internship can come back later and say "well even though you guys told me I was an unpaid intern, and I signed a contract saying I was an unpaid intern, and I didn't have an issue working for no pay for __ months, I don't think I was REALLY an intern, so you owe me money and I'm gonna sue you if I don't get it".

If he wins, businesses will likely move away from bringing in Interns at all because the risk is too great. Realistically, Marvel will probably just settle this out of court.

The counter point is he was completely inexperienced, was there for 4 months, and was there to learn the operations of a large commercial art based corporation. The only way that he will have a leg to stand on is if he was doing independent, unique or self managed work that is of benefit to the employer. So if he was an intern acting as an assistant under the direct and constant supervision of an editor, than yeah he was an intern. Even if he got to work on actual beneficial product. Whereas if they sat him in a corner and had him lettering next months Spider Man? Not so much.

It is a very very grey area. The company is permitted to derive some benefit from the arrangement, so long as it is not obviously exploitive, otherwise why participate in internships. But by the same token interns are not and cannot be treated as regular employees. For every place I have ever worked or offered consulting to the main point of contention was independent job functions. Are they working directly with someone or are they simply working? And most find that basic grunt tasks such as getting coffee and similar drudge work are well within the boundaries of internship. They are educational tasks ala Mr. Miyagi "wax on wax off". They teach important job skills, form a structure to the interns day, force them to learn the lay of the land, and give them a surprisingly broad overview of the company or field.

I could be wrong, but unless this dude was producing unpaid art, I doubt that he has much case.

Super Cyborg:
If I recall correctly, you can be paid less, or not at all as an intern

the fact that this is legal saddens me greatly. you can abuse workforce for free under pretense as an intern and since intern is decided by employer essentially you can get free workforce this way.

Im so glad you actually have to pay people for the work they done here.

Strazdas:

Super Cyborg:
If I recall correctly, you can be paid less, or not at all as an intern

the fact that this is legal saddens me greatly. you can abuse workforce for free under pretense as an intern and since intern is decided by employer essentially you can get free workforce this way.

Im so glad you actually have to pay people for the work they done here.

As others have been saying, there are rules that must be followed for someone to be considered an intern. As another poster said, it also depends on the field and company. If you are Disney for example, they can afford to pay a little bit of money for interns, but if you are a small non-profit organization that is trying to do research, you can't afford to pay people because any money you are getting is used for the main employees, and the interns are helping with the research. I don't know that much, but I think there should be clearer rules from what people have posted.

Super Cyborg:

Strazdas:

Super Cyborg:
If I recall correctly, you can be paid less, or not at all as an intern

the fact that this is legal saddens me greatly. you can abuse workforce for free under pretense as an intern and since intern is decided by employer essentially you can get free workforce this way.

Im so glad you actually have to pay people for the work they done here.

As others have been saying, there are rules that must be followed for someone to be considered an intern. As another poster said, it also depends on the field and company. If you are Disney for example, they can afford to pay a little bit of money for interns, but if you are a small non-profit organization that is trying to do research, you can't afford to pay people because any money you are getting is used for the main employees, and the interns are helping with the research. I don't know that much, but I think there should be clearer rules from what people have posted.

Yes, and those rules sounded more fair than what usually happens.

If you cannot afford to hire people - then dont hire them, instead of hiring them and then refusing to pay them. If the interne is helping with the research and does not get paid they are breaking those 6 rules btw.

Isn't internship just a fancy way of saying slavery? You're pretty much doing work for no pay and what's to guarantee you'll get a job? It's just a sneaky way to have the paid guys lighten their workload.

Strazdas:
If the interne is helping with the research and does not get paid they are breaking those 6 rules btw.

Ihateregistering1:

Someone already posted the standards, according to US Department of Labor:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to
training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern;
and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the
internship.

Lets see, most of the ones I looked at would include 1, since while they are helping with the operation, they are being trained on the techniques of the research, and by actively participating in the research, they can learn how to utilize the skills which goes well with 2. Number 3 would work because the regular researchers would be with them to make sure that they are getting the stuff done right, and would be giving feedback to the work being done. If they made the interns do all the work while the staff did nothing, that's a problem, and I did experience this a little volunteering at an aquarium. 4 is the one that would get tricky with research internships. The key word seems to be immediate advantage, which if they take a person who has experience, makes them work immediately for their own benefit, then that would be breaking it. Most research internships I've seen has at least a few days to a week of training before the interns can even start to actually help with the research, and it's not till later that they can do the stuff as they have to learn all the different things about it. 5 and 6 is usually stated when describing the internship. So there is a possibility that it could break the internship rules, but usually not. This is why science internships that help with research are usually a minimum of months, because it takes a long time to teach the stuff before the interns can even help with field work.

Super Cyborg:
snip

see, the way i read 4 is that the employer should not have immediate advantage at any point of the internship. because that would be a personal gain that the intership should be equally rewarded for.

Strazdas:

Super Cyborg:
snip

see, the way i read 4 is that the employer should not have immediate advantage at any point of the internship. because that would be a personal gain that the intership should be equally rewarded for.

That would be all well and good in a perfect world, but if organizations and businesses didn't get something out of it, they wouldn't want to do it. If everyone was required to give compensation for intern work, a lot of organizations wouldn't be able to take interns. Whenever I hear internship, it's about gaining real world experience in the field you are interested in, and the best way is to do direct work, so organizations get a little bit of benefits for taking time and money for someone who only helps out for a short amount of time. That experience should help lead to getting a job in the field. There should be case by case situations depending on the type of internship, amount of work done, and the stuff done as well.

Super Cyborg:

Strazdas:

Super Cyborg:
snip

see, the way i read 4 is that the employer should not have immediate advantage at any point of the internship. because that would be a personal gain that the intership should be equally rewarded for.

That would be all well and good in a perfect world, but if organizations and businesses didn't get something out of it, they wouldn't want to do it. If everyone was required to give compensation for intern work, a lot of organizations wouldn't be able to take interns. Whenever I hear internship, it's about gaining real world experience in the field you are interested in, and the best way is to do direct work, so organizations get a little bit of benefits for taking time and money for someone who only helps out for a short amount of time. That experience should help lead to getting a job in the field. There should be case by case situations depending on the type of internship, amount of work done, and the stuff done as well.

im ok with organizations getting use out of interns as long as they pair fair wage for that gain. right now they gain it without having to pay wage, which is unfair.

see, there is a whole bigger culture with corporations not being willing to invest and retain their workers. in the east it is normal to hire a fresh out of university guy, train him up, makming him a loyal employee and real benefits for decades. in the west its throw money at somone and hope he doesnt crash and burn politics.

Strazdas:
im ok with organizations getting use out of interns as long as they pair fair wage for that gain. right now they gain it without having to pay wage, which is unfair.

see, there is a whole bigger culture with corporations not being willing to invest and retain their workers. in the east it is normal to hire a fresh out of university guy, train him up, makming him a loyal employee and real benefits for decades. in the west its throw money at somone and hope he doesnt crash and burn politics.

I don't know everything about hiring rates in the States compared to the rest of the world, so what I say will not be 100% accurate. In the states, it depends a lot on your degree, experience, and connections. With my degree, a majority of people went for their Masters right away because it was that, or work in an aquarium for the most part. Depending on the field one goes into depends on their chances of getting into work. There seems to be a lot more people going through college never having a part time job, doing the least amount of work necessary, then expect to get a job right out of college. There are also problems of people jumping around jobs a lot, not because they are laid off but because they don't like the job. There are a number of problems that need to be fixed to make things better, but that's not the topic.

Here in the states, The best way to get prepared to get a job is by doing internships, which depending on the field and company depends on what kind of pay you get. Most people do internships instead of work to get experience in the field they want to get into, so that they look much better when applying. Getting paid is usually the last thing on our mind. Now as a Science Major, it would be really nice if we didn't have to pay for internships, especially since they can get pricey. The internships I pay for though are with small organizations that get their funding by interns, and only a little of it that they take goes for the causes of the organization, because the rest is used for the stuff that we will take part of that costs money. Bigger companies should be able to easily accommodate people, especially when it comes to businesses like Marvel, but when it's an organization that needs funding, I can understand having to pay a little bit. In the internship I'll be doing in South Africa during November and December, it's actually cheaper to stay there the whole time through the internship, because they provide food and housing with the cost, which is much cheaper than if I went there myself for two months.

I'm one who says that internship rules should be based on a variety of situations. If it's a giant company that makes millions to billions a year, then they can fork over money for an internship that also does labor for a certain amount of time. If you are a small organization, especially non-profit, and you need people to help with their work and that by helping people can gain experience, and they are up front about it, than I don't see a problem with it.

Super Cyborg:

I don't know everything about hiring rates in the States compared to the rest of the world, so what I say will not be 100% accurate. In the states, it depends a lot on your degree, experience, and connections. With my degree, a majority of people went for their Masters right away because it was that, or work in an aquarium for the most part. Depending on the field one goes into depends on their chances of getting into work. There seems to be a lot more people going through college never having a part time job, doing the least amount of work necessary, then expect to get a job right out of college. There are also problems of people jumping around jobs a lot, not because they are laid off but because they don't like the job. There are a number of problems that need to be fixed to make things better, but that's not the topic.

I dont really see a problem with someone going through colledge without part time job. We go there precisely to avoid these kind of jobs to begin with. If we ignore summer jobs, i got my first Job when i was studying my Masters, full time. I have finished my masters, but yet i remain at that job because i liked it here.

People jumping around jobs a lot are mostly because, as you say, they dont like it there. most often caused by management having banana puree for brains. In fact i know quite a few people that got layed off but formally it looked like they left themselves because the company bullied them into agreeing to avoid paying layed off fees.

Here in the states, The best way to get prepared to get a job is by doing internships, which depending on the field and company depends on what kind of pay you get. Most people do internships instead of work to get experience in the field they want to get into, so that they look much better when applying. Getting paid is usually the last thing on our mind.

So your saying that this problem is more cultural than based in law? if you have been conditioned to think you are supposed to slave away for a few spots on your CV the problem is worse than i though. Worse yet, some people actually pay to be able to work. when opposite is what should happen.

I'm one who says that internship rules should be based on a variety of situations. If it's a giant company that makes millions to billions a year, then they can fork over money for an internship that also does labor for a certain amount of time. If you are a small organization, especially non-profit, and you need people to help with their work and that by helping people can gain experience, and they are up front about it, than I don't see a problem with it.

Well, non-profit can have unpaid volunteers, so thats basically what your suggesting.

The problem with unpaid internships is that nothing's really stopping the people hiring you from just getting rid of you and getting new interns. That way, they get free workforce with no drawbacks other than screwing over some idiot that would work for free.

Strazdas:

Super Cyborg:

I don't know everything about hiring rates in the States compared to the rest of the world, so what I say will not be 100% accurate. In the states, it depends a lot on your degree, experience, and connections. With my degree, a majority of people went for their Masters right away because it was that, or work in an aquarium for the most part. Depending on the field one goes into depends on their chances of getting into work. There seems to be a lot more people going through college never having a part time job, doing the least amount of work necessary, then expect to get a job right out of college. There are also problems of people jumping around jobs a lot, not because they are laid off but because they don't like the job. There are a number of problems that need to be fixed to make things better, but that's not the topic.

I dont really see a problem with someone going through colledge without part time job. We go there precisely to avoid these kind of jobs to begin with. If we ignore summer jobs, i got my first Job when i was studying my Masters, full time. I have finished my masters, but yet i remain at that job because i liked it here.

People jumping around jobs a lot are mostly because, as you say, they dont like it there. most often caused by management having banana puree for brains. In fact i know quite a few people that got layed off but formally it looked like they left themselves because the company bullied them into agreeing to avoid paying layed off fees.

Here in the states, The best way to get prepared to get a job is by doing internships, which depending on the field and company depends on what kind of pay you get. Most people do internships instead of work to get experience in the field they want to get into, so that they look much better when applying. Getting paid is usually the last thing on our mind.

So your saying that this problem is more cultural than based in law? if you have been conditioned to think you are supposed to slave away for a few spots on your CV the problem is worse than i though. Worse yet, some people actually pay to be able to work. when opposite is what should happen.

I'm one who says that internship rules should be based on a variety of situations. If it's a giant company that makes millions to billions a year, then they can fork over money for an internship that also does labor for a certain amount of time. If you are a small organization, especially non-profit, and you need people to help with their work and that by helping people can gain experience, and they are up front about it, than I don't see a problem with it.

Well, non-profit can have unpaid volunteers, so thats basically what your suggesting.

It seems like we agree overall. I do agree that things do need to change to make things better, and I should've clarified that part in my other posts. From what I know, Volunteer work and Internships can be close, with the main difference that I know of being that volunteers help out in short time periods, and the commitment isn't as big, where internships have a bit more defined times and schedule to help. I would love to be able to pay for internships, but there are cases where I see why it would not be possible.

The main problem in the states is not only that people take certain advantages of internships and the like, but that there are lots of people in certain fields, and that to get a job, or even a decent one, you have to have a certain amount of experience, which the only way to get is through internships. This is going off of my experiences, and it's based on the field one works in as well that decides what one needs to do in order to get experience they need.

By the way, I was talking about internships from non-profit organizations. I've done volunteer work at certain places, and the experience one gets is quite minimal when it comes to getting really good experiences. Internships I've been looking at do long periods of time, with lectures and field work and the costs usually pay for the equipment people use, as well as rooming and food. I haven't seen one where you have to pay for the internship, and they didn't provide other stuff in return.

In the end for this case, I think it depends on all the conditions. If the person was not paid minimum wage, but their living expenses were paid, then I doubt he has room. If he didn't get paid, and had to pay for all his living expenses, then that's not right.

Strazdas:

I'm one who says that internship rules should be based on a variety of situations. If it's a giant company that makes millions to billions a year, then they can fork over money for an internship that also does labor for a certain amount of time. If you are a small organization, especially non-profit, and you need people to help with their work and that by helping people can gain experience, and they are up front about it, than I don't see a problem with it.
Well, non-profit can have unpaid volunteers, so thats basically what your suggesting.

The problem here is that when internships must be paid, there is very little incentive to have interns at all. You might as well find regular employees. Interns generally won't have much experience, so an employee wouldn't have to have much either. They aren't going back to school presumably, which means you don't spend time constantly training new batches of interns. Even a company with millions is going to think twice before handing out money to interns that will be gone in three months times.

This doesn't make unpaid interns the right thing to do, but consequences are sure to arise the more and more they are cracked down on. Maybe it's for the best, since it would relieve the pressure on college students telling them to do things for free, but having the willingness and means to work for months for free is an advantage some interns wouldn't be able to press anymore (which brings in a whole mess of issues about financial privilege, which is also important).

 

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