Internships Might Be Vanishing

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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 Wednesday that it would be ending its internship program but declined to shed any light on the rationale behind the company's decision."

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." As for the U.S. Labor Department'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.