The legal and social movement against unpaid internships

I’ve just posted a draft of forthcoming law review article, “The Legal and Social Movement Against Unpaid Internships,” which will be published in the Northeastern University Law Journal in early 2014. You may download a pdf copy without charge from my Social Science Research Network page.

The draft runs about 24 pages and discusses and analyzes the major developments concerning unpaid internships over the past four years. It is an update of, and sequel to, my 2002 law review article, “The Employment Law Rights of Student Interns” (Connecticut Law Review), which can be downloaded without charge here.

Here’s the article abstract for the new piece:

Until very recently, the legal implications of unpaid internships provided by American employers have been something of a sleeping giant, especially on the question of whether interns fall under wage and hour protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state equivalents. This began to change in June 2013, when, in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., a U.S. federal district court held that two unpaid interns who worked on the production of the movie “Black Swan” were owed back pay under federal and state wage and hour laws.

This Article examines and analyzes the latest legal developments concerning internships and the growth of the intern rights movement. It serves as an update to a 2002 article I wrote on the employment rights of interns, David C. Yamada, The Employment Law Rights of Student Interns, 35 Conn. L. Rev. 215 (2002). Now that the legal implications of unpaid internships have transcended mostly academic commentary, the underlying legal and policy issues are sharpening at the point of application. Accordingly, Part I will examine the recent legal developments concerning internships, consider the evolving policy issues, and suggest solutions where applicable.

In addition, the intern rights movement has emerged to challenge the widespread practice of unpaid internships and the overall status of interns in today’s labor market. Thus, Part II will examine the emergence of a movement that has both fueled legal challenges to unpaid internships and engaged in organizing activities and social media outreach surrounding internship practices and the intern economy.

This article grew out of my presentation at the March 2013 Northeastern University Law Journal symposium on employee misclassification.

Because it is a first draft, it will undergo edits and revisions, the latter especially if it is published after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issues decisions on the unpaid intern wage claims that have been certified for appeal.

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