Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Hollywood Interns Suing

No, the title of this blog post does not refer to the poorly rated film The Internship (though I admit, I've seen worse films). Unpaid Hollywood interns  have filed a class action lawsuit seeking "back pay, damages and an order barring use of unpaid interns at Fox Searchlight Pictures and other units of Fox Entertainment Group." The interns contend Hollywood studios are violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, "which mandates that unpaid internships benefit the interns, not the employers."
How many times have you toyed with the idea of volunteering (taking an unpaid internship) to develop relationships and get experience in an effort to get your foot in the door? Should the Hollywood interns expect more if it's the case that this is just the way film business is run? You might be surprised at what distinguishes interns from employees:

For interns
  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.