Thursday, February 11, 2016

Only One Presidential Candidate Pays His Interns . . .

. . . and it's Bernie Sanders (the source could not make a determination regarding Donald Trump, but the others do not). Per the Snopes article linked in the previous line: "In most cases, it is perfectly legal to hire interns for non-paying positions as long as those interns receive some tangible benefit (such as school credit or valuable work experience) in return." Meh, it's a little more complicated than that.

Used in commentary on film.
As luck would have it, we're covering unpaid interns in my class today, including Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. In Glatt, a bunch of unpaid interns who worked on production of the film Black Swan sued the film company for wages. The Court relied heavily on the Department of Labor's Fact Sheet #71, which set out six factors:
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.
Ultimately, the Court concluded that the workers, "were classified improperly as unpaid interns and are 'employees' covered by the FLSA."

I don't really know what presidential campaign interns do, or why they're not "volunteers" (another exception to wage requirements); but, I do know that it's a tricky issue and more complicated than Snopes lets on. Would they pass the 6-factor test above?