Mike Reilly was quoted in an August 1 Human Resource Executive Online article titled “The End of Unpaid Internships.” The article discusses a 2011 class action lawsuit filed by two interns working on the set of the movie Black Swan against the Fox Searchlight movie studio claiming that they were required to perform menial tasks with minimal, if any, educational value that should have been carried out by employees. The lawsuit was viewed as the beginning of the end for unpaid internships, as there have been more than 30 cases filed on behalf of unpaid interns in the past four years alone. Employers are now scaling back their unpaid internships or replacing them with programs offering minimum wage or stipend.
Over recent years, some employers have become “smarter, tactical and strategic” by developing written curriculum that identifies specific educational tasks interns must complete. Where some employers go wrong is when interns are treated unfairly, by being asked to perform unskilled jobs such as making copies or running errands.