Another Good Indicator That Internships May Be Vanishing

By John E. Thompson

We have observed for some time now that the spate of wage-hour lawsuits might be expected drastically to curtail the availability of internships of both the unpaid and paid varieties.

Employment Law 360 reports that publisher Condé Nast has become the first of what will probably be many to decide that it will no longer make internships available.

As we noted in June, the publisher has been sued by former interns. According to Employment Law 360, “A Condé Nast spokeswoman confirmed (last week) that it would be ending its internship program but declined to shed any light on the rationale behind the company’s decision.”

Expect fewer internships, paid or unpaid

The article noted our reaction that we “do fully expect there to be far fewer internships as a result of all these claims and all this litigation.” We expressed the view that “a lot of these entities are going to be disinclined to run the risk of claims arising out of these internships, whether they are paid or unpaid.”

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As for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet #71 dealing with internships under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, our observation was that “[t]hese so-called guidelines are not exactly a model of clarity. Completely well-intentioned entities who might otherwise offer internships are going to say, ‘Never mind.'”

We suspect that, for every high-profile announcement of this kind, there will be far more unreported decisions to the same effect.

This was originally published on Fisher & Phillips’ Wage and Hour Laws blog.

John Thompson is a partner in the Atlanta office of the law firm Fisher & Phillips. His practice focuses on wage and hour law, assisting employers in preventive efforts designed to ensure compliance, and he handles both investigations conducted by government agencies and litigation in the wage and hour area. John has served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for wage-hour matters for the State of Georgia. Contact him at jthompson@laborlawyers.com.

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