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News and Announcements

News and Announcements

Unpaid Interns: An Endangered Species?

Politico—Marianne LeVine Is the era of the unpaid internship nearing its end? That question hovers over two cases challenging the legality of the wage-free quasi-apprenticeships long common to many white collar settings. More than 30 cases have been filed on behalf of unpaid interns in the past four years. The two most prominent are Glatt v. Fox Searchlight, known familiarly as the “Black Swan” case, and Wang v. Hearst Corp. Both cases are on federal appeal before New York City’s Second Circuit. Both involve interns who worked for communications companies that offered entree to a glamorous...
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Unpaid Interns Have Their Day in Court—Again

Fortune—Claire Zillman On Friday, a federal appeals court will review earlier court decisions that left unpaid internship in legal limbo. Whether you noticed it or not, a big question has been hanging over the heads of companies and their prospective workers for several years now: Is an intern an employee? The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan will address that query on Friday when it reviews earlier decisions in two cases filed by unpaid interns whose opposite outcomes put the now-ubiquitous unpaid internship in legal limbo. “This is the case that everyone’s been waiting for,”...
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A Coveted Internship, but Its Holder Sues Anyway

Aug 2, 2014 / Media Coverage /
The New York Times—Steven Greenhouse Kimberly Behzadi felt lucky to land an internship as a college senior with ICM Partners, the talent and literary agency. But she grew upset that she wasn’t paid during her five-month internship. So she has sued ICM, asserting that it violated minimum wage laws by not paying her even though she did work similar to that done by the agency’s paid assistants. Filed in federal court in Manhattan, her lawsuit is the latest in a wave of lawsuits that interns have brought, including ones against Hearst Magazines, Fox Searchlight, Gawker, Condé Nast and Warner...
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How to Avoid an Exploitive Internship

foxbusiness.com—By Christina Couch Ever since the "'Black Swan' case," wherein two unpaid interns who worked on Darren Aronofsky's iconic film sued Fox Searchlight Pictures for violating Department of Labor regulations, many companies have made serious changes to their internship programs. While there are less exploitive internship than there used to be (several programs shut down following the fiasco), many still exist, leaving it up to students to do their research. Students must learn to avoid bad internships and to take action if they find themselves in an illegal program. Before starting...
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The Great Intern Revolt

Capital New York — By Peter Sterne The great media-world intern revolt didn’t arise from an army of underpaid fashion-closet assistants, coffee-order-takers and instant-news-rewrite bloggers suddenly storming the castle in fury. It began when a 40-something who’d built himself a comfortable career in finance read an article in The New York Times. In April 2010, Eric Glatt had already quit his job at AIG to pursue his first love—film. He had received certification in the art of film editing and was working as an unpaid intern on Fox Searchlight Production’s film, Black Swan. Then he came...
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ICM Aims to Head Off Intern Class Action By Bringing Arbitration Claim (Exclusive)

Jun 14, 2014 / Media Coverage /
Hollywood Reporter—Eriq Gardner and Matthew Belloni The agency is looking to preempt a threat by a former intern in its New York office So far, the flood of litigation over unpaid internship programs hasn't hit the inner sanctum of Hollywood talent agencies, but that doesn't mean there aren't efforts underway to recruit potential plaintiffs. Now ICM Partners is looking to stay ahead of the curve by bringing one of its ex-interns to arbitration. A demand for arbitration was filed against a former intern on Friday, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, adding a new wrinkle to the ongoing...
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Employers Should Pay Their Interns. Here's Why

Forbes—Susan Adams This spring luxury shoes and accessories company Salvatore Ferragamo posted an unpaid internship listing on LinkedIn. “Retail Intern for its New York Flagship Store,” it reads. “This position will provide a valuable learning experience for those interested in the day-to-day operations of a luxury goods environment.” Really? “90-95% of the time will be spent on the sales floor working with product, sales associates and answering client questions when possible,” it goes on to say. The interns don’t ring up sales, but instead walk around and presumably try to convince shoppers...
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Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay for an Unpaid Internship

ProPublica—By Kara Brandeisky At ProPublica, we've heard from a lot of unpaid interns. You've told us about walking your boss's dog, fact-checking for magazines and even doing the same work as federal prosecutors — all for little or no pay. If you think you might be entitled to minimum wage for your work, you have legal options. Here are a few resources you should know about. Let's start with the obvious — you can appeal to your employer directly for wages. If you go that route, know the U.S. Department of Labor's rules. The Labor Department says if you are interning at a for-profit company,...
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Lawsuit challenges a Hollywood pillar: Unpaid internships

Apr 7, 2014 / Media Coverage /
The Los Angeles Times—By Daniel Miller and John Horn Melvin Mar's entrée to Hollywood was far from glamorous. As an unpaid intern for "Platoon" producer Arnold Kopelson, Mar was responsible for fetching his boss' lunch of matzo ball soup every day. Mar calculated to the minute how long it would take to walk from the production company's Century City offices to the Stage Deli nearby, buy the soup and decant it into a bowl on Kopelson's desk, still piping hot, at precisely 1 p.m. Mar parlayed his internship into jobs at DreamWorks and Scott Rudin Productions. * * * Uncompensated minions are as...
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NYC Passes Amendment to Protect Unpaid Interns Against Sexual Harassment

Mar 21, 2014 / Media Coverage /
Newsweek—By Zach Schonfeld Following a legislative hearing last week, the New York City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass an amendment extending sexual harassment and civil rights protections to unpaid interns. The bill amends the New York City Human Rights Law in the wake of a 2013 decision that Lihuan Wang, a former unpaid intern at Phoenix Satellite Television, could not bring a sexual harassment suit because she was not a paid employee. * * * ... the language of the bill has been criticized by advocates who argue that its definition of an intern is too narrow. It requires an...
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