In June, a ruling from a Federal court in New York, (Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., S.D.N.Y., No. 11-06784, 6/11/13), made headlines when it determined that unpaid interns were entitled to back pay for their services in connection with the production of various films, including “Black Swan” and “500 Days of Summer.” This case ignited conversation across many industries that have come to rely on unpaid internships, but the decision did not herald a change in the law so much as reiterate the US Department of Labor’s standards for internships, which the court said were essentially identical to New York State’s.
If nothing else, the Glatt case should serve as a reminder to businesses to take care in structuring internship programs. Using the free labor of non-student adults for regular employee functions is a particularly dangerous practice, as Fox Searchlight found out. Continue reading