Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Interns Filed a Lawsuit Against Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan

To earn a degree or even move forward in a job in their selected field, students must perform internship. It is broadly required in college and unpaid internships are common. However, many companies may now have a second thought of taking a new batch of interns for the next semester due to a newly filed lawsuit by the unpaid interns of Fox Searchlight.

According to reports from New York Times, a wage and hour employment lawsuit is seeking for class action in a federal court of Manhattan. The accusation affirms that the interns were required by the producer of Black Swan to complete a very hard work that should have been done by paid employees. In addition, the interns affirm that while on the job training, they were not given sufficient educational experience. In any state labor laws, companies are required to provide interns enough job experience during the training in order to exempt employers from paying the interns.

As reported by the New York Times, the accusation also affirmed that, “Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work. In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.”

Fox Search light failed to comply with the criteria of federal Department of Labor for unpaid internships, therefore they are also charged of acting illegally. As stated on the lawsuit, employers are required to give interns a position which will benefit them, will not displace regular employees from their normal position and that the employer assume no immediate advantage from the activities of the interns.

At least 100 unpaid interns who were employed by different Fox Searchlight productions are seeking class action status, back pay under federal and state wage laws and an injunction barring Fox Searchlight from improperly decree blocking Fox Searchlight from inappropriately using unpaid interns through the said lawsuit.

Interns should be given an educational lesson and instructions on the basic skills for the industry – and not just to have them perform a hard work. Companies need to be held accountable for taking advantage of this basically free labor if they are going to take on interns. If ever companies don’t have any intent of paying intern for the hard work they have done, they should at least provide them with sufficient knowledge and experience in the industry.

Real internship can really do a lot of help to students to learn about their industry and bring them one step forward to employment career. However, most of the time, interns are mistreated and do not receive educational benefit that they are looking for when they applied for the internship. In most states like California, they have California employment lawyers which can help to expose the darker side of unpaid internship and opens the doorway for similar lawsuit concerning unpaid internship.