If you've ever had a bad experience at an internship, you might take some pleasure in hearing this news.
NBCUniversal has agreed to a $6.4 million settlement in a class action suit brought by thousands of former interns.
The interns claim that NBCUniversal violated state and federal labor laws by not paying them minimum wage for the work they did.
Despite settling in the case, NBCUniversal denies any wrongdoing. The average award to a member of the class action will be $505.
NBCUniversal probably settled because of the precedent set in a 2013 decision by a US district judge which compelled Fox Searchlight Pictures to pay two interns who worked on the 2010 movie Black Swan . The judge ruled that their work had risen to the level of regular employees and directly benefitted the production company.
At this point, some of you might be thinking that you would kill to have an unpaid internship working on shows like Saturday Night Live . Internships can provide valuable experience and contacts for aspiring workers in the field. For many students, unpaid internships lead to a full-time job with the employing company in short order.
If settlements like this one spread, it could serve as a major disincentive for companies to run internship programs. Such a development could be devastating for students in an economy where firms are unwilling to hire inexperienced workers.
Then again, the prominence of unpaid internships also speaks to the disturbing unwillingness of many companies to pay their workers what they are owed.
Are internships exploitative? Let us know in the comments section below.