It is a small victory but your Wonkette will take it: U.S. District Judge William Pauley, hero to the working classes, issued a summary judgment this week affirming that people need to be paid for work. Yes, Wonketteers, we are still debating the relative merits and various philosophies behind paying people to do work (see previous iterations of this debatehere and here) because this is 2013 and "exposure" and "experience" are the new moneys. This is why Fox Searchlight thought it was perfectly OK to have interns working for free on the set of The Swan, where they got "experience" and learned how to perform complicated tasks like getting lunch, organizing filing cabinets, tracking purchase orders, making copies, and running errands.

The matter stems from a September 2011 lawsuit filed by former interns Eric Glatt and Andrew Footman, who alleged they performed menial tasks -- such as retrieving lunch for other workers -- that should have been assigned to paid employees of Fox Searchlight. The former interns alleged that the internship program violated minimum-wage and overtime laws.

Pauley wrote in his ruling that Fox Searchlight should have paid the interns, saying: "Considering the totality of the circumstances, Glatt and Footman were classified improperly as unpaid interns and are 'employees'" under New York labor law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Are you thinking that it seems sort of...obvious that people should at least be paid minimum wage in exchange for work? And does it seem like the widespread practice of asking adults to work for free under the guise of an unpaid "internship" makes it possible only for upper-class people to get important contacts in various fields?  Well, Commie, if you are thinking about these things, you are asking the wrong questions. The RIGHT questions revolve around companies' abilities to make a profit now that they have to pay people minimum wage to file, make copies, and run errands.

[L.A. Times / Huffpo / ProPublica]


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