Unpaid internships in jeopardy after court ruling

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  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    June 15, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    As an employer I looked at internships as a way to obtain cheap labor. I reviewed the rules and determined that I was not able to meet them; so no internships.

    Every employer has to train their employees to some degree even if that is just in meeting company specific procedures. The internship is supposed to be an extension of the educational endeavor outside normal company training. It needs to have specific, published, goals for each intern and a timetable to achieve said goals in the time allotted. The goals should be non specific to the company even as the company derives benefit from the work performed. The work completed independently should be either open for all to use, or under a specific pre-agreement to the contrary. Any participation on a team should be closely monitored for learning and applying skills and team outcome should be unreliant on the participation of the intern. Over the period of internship there should be a scheduled change in activities so that it is evident that the intern is learning and applying new skills.

    If it doesn't have some or all of these, or others, it's just labor. Pay

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    June 14, 2013 12:29 p.m.


    Which of these scenarios is ethical?

    A college undergrad accepting work without pay from an employer who is happy to have a new office assistant.

    An employer who refuses to accept labor without compensation, even if it means his profit margin is a little less.

    Just because someone is coerced into a job without pay out of the desire for career advancement (something many employers and employees now also say is a fraud, as an internship does not guarantee anything since so many more people now do it, just like a bachelor's degree does not guarantee a job either as the number of degree holders has increased), does not mean the employer is in the right. If someone does work, they should be compensated. When is it ever acceptable to say "do this work, I won't pay you, but it may help you secure a job later?"

  • sjames AMERICAN FORK, UT
    June 14, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    You can't say that someone "deserves" to get paid if they agreed to an unpaid internship. Not all value is financial. Internships are a chance for a grads to learn some real world skills and apply what they are supposed to have learned. If we were to do away with unpaid internships, we would just end up with more unemployed grads.
    Just because someone has a degree, they are not automatically qualified to be a paid professional. Education teaches skills that make that student more viable in their career, but it gives them absolutely zero true, real world work experience.
    When I graduated I would have done an unpaid internship if it was an opportunity to grow my skill set and apply what I had learned in school. I ended getting a paid (barely) internship with the BSA. When I look at my internship, I never look at the financial benefit of it, but the opportunity I had to actually do what I had learned.
    Let's not make the mistake of feeling entitled to something that we are not prepared to handle. If a new grad is qualified, they will find a paid internship, or a job.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    June 14, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    I agree, the judge is right and these internships are abusing those who seek a career in what they trained and spent 4-8 years of school to learn. If these schools are not providing the proper educaiton that allows them to fall into a job then there is a problem with the educaiton being given.

    Internships are training periods but they are still doing a service for the companies as gofers, and subordinates in a firm or office or hospital. It doesn't matter what kind of job it is, they all have training and performing tasks and work under supervision and they deserve pay equal to their abilities.

    What makes these companies and business think that educated interns are slaves and not deserving pay while they are learning the fine details of a trade? No-one in America has to work for free, slavery and indentured servitude and minimum wages applies to all amreican citizens.

    The argument against free intern workers is not justified in this country where every man has a value and the right to get paid his value and working skills.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 14, 2013 6:31 a.m.

    If American companies can't find slave labor here at home, they might outsource the jobs to Bangladesh or Lower Slobovia.

    Why can't those greedy interns see what they are doing to harm America. Taking money from job creators is so . . . . so . . . . liberal!

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    June 14, 2013 6:04 a.m.

    Nothing is ever what it seems and any good thing such as unpaid internships to help young entrants into a field of endeavor often tend to be abused, ruining legitimate programs for those companies doing right by the internship concept. When the intern fills a position the company would have to fill anyway, that is no longer an internship. Using recurring internships to provide necessary personnel is a way for some companies to methodically skirt employment laws. Internship programs possibly use not-so-obvious pressure to keep other employee wages lower, so it is a fine line in which case legitimate employers should err on the safe side, and laws or not, compensate interns for their contribution to the company.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    June 14, 2013 6:02 a.m.

    Once again the government is here to protect us from ourselves. The challenge with landing any job is getting experience. Last year my son did a part time internship. A few weeks in, the company asked if he would work for them full time for pay. He never would have gotten his foot in the door if the company had to pay, because the company had no idea that he would actually add value. Likewise, my brother-in-law got his first job bagging at a grocery store by simply doing it until they hired him.

    No one is forced to do an unpaid internship. (I will bet that the Judge has interns from his local law school who are not being paid - though I am sure the Judge considers getting his coffee and making photocopies for him "educational.") The end result of this will be a few people getting paid and a bunch of people getting no experience in their field.
    As usual, the government's effort to protect us from ourselves will have unintended consequences.

  • Chris from Rose Park Hartford, CT
    June 13, 2013 10:57 p.m.

    I recently graduated from college with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I can only think of a couple internship postings that stated there would be no pay and they were from unheard of companies. The more well known the company the better the pay.

    Most interns work really hard and I do think that they deserve to be paid. My internship, according to my supervisor, was of benefit to the company. My peers talked as if their projects had value. Now, in my first year in my career, I can for sure say the work of old interns is constantly being used. We just got an intern this summer and he has been doing great work. He definitely deserves compensation. The key to making internships worthwhile is to treat them like employees and give them real work instead of them being office assistants. Let them be creative, don't dictate how everything is to be done. If you get an intern asking questions to achieve real progress then think about extending a job offer. You just trained him for cheaper than a new hire.

  • California Steve Hanford, CA
    June 13, 2013 10:49 p.m.

    Throw in Obabacare an you recent grads have no hope.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    June 13, 2013 9:35 p.m.

    Re: dawgdeelux

    If interns in every company only looked over the shoulder of those doing the work and asked questions, I wouldn't have a problem with them being unpaid. That is not the case in most unpaid internships. They are often doing the work of an executive or administrative assistant, a person who typically makes around 28-32K a year, but the company gets the service for free. That is wrong. That person does "deserve" compensation for the work they are doing.

  • collegestudent25 Cedar City, UT
    June 13, 2013 8:37 p.m.

    It Reminds me of a parable.

  • dawgdeelux saratoga springs, UT
    June 13, 2013 7:31 p.m.

    They 'deserve' compensation? Imagine our office allowing intern engineers to walk in, look over our shoulders and ask a million questions THEN tell us they 'deserve' to be paid. It actually costs us to have these young people in our office, we do it as a service to THEM not as a great befit to us.

  • David Ricardo Cedar Hills, UT
    June 13, 2013 6:43 p.m.

    So I guess liberals are only willing to protect the right of two consenting adults to do some things? The USA seems to becoming less free almost every day.

  • MormonDemocrat Salt Lake City, UT
    June 13, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    Clearly the misconception of the "unpaid internship" is widely held. It has never (since the New Deal, anyway) been legal, except under very specific circumstances that make the internship about getting general exposure to an industry or academic credit. If any beneficial work is done for the employer, the intern should be paid. This has been the law for many years - - and it is only fair.