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Recently, two Fox Searchlight interns filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that their unpaid duties fell outside the scope of the Department of Labor's conditions for internships. The judge ruled in their favor saying that the interns' work classified them as employees, and they should have been paid. Part of that work included fetching coffee, doing janitorial cleanup, moving furniture and answering phones.
Some companies will indeed continue to offer unpaid internships, because the law is a grey area open to interpretation. That's why we have courts, lawyers and lawsuits. For HR departments, the key to managing the risk of unpaid internships is to understand the law as much as possible. The other part of it is simply providing a pleasant and rewarding experience.
While not every paid or unpaid internship needs the Hollywood gloss of the one scored by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in their recent movie, it shouldn't feel like an Upton Sinclair novel, either. After all, if tedious busy work or rote manual labor is the extent of the internship, they might as well get paid for similar work as a "mal-employee."
Healthcare Mandate Delayed for One Year (Politico)
The Obama administration is postponing the Affordable Care Act's mandate that employers provide insurance to their workers until 2015. Employees with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees were going to be required under law to provide health insurance or pay $2,000 per year per employee starting in 2014.
An HR Pro Reacts to The Internship (Fistful of Talent)
Seen The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson yet? According to HR pro Steve Boese, it's essentially a 105-minute recruiting video for Google -- for 12-year-olds. "No 12-year-old kid is spending time on the Google careers page. But lots of GenX parents, fans of Vince and Owen, probably were sitting next to their 12- or 13- or 14-year-old future tech stars and spent two hours learning about how amazing life and work are at Google."
Google Admits Its 'Brain-Teaser' Interview Questions Are a Waste of Time (The New York Times)
"We found that brain teasers are a complete waste of time," said Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president for people operations at Google. "How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don't predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart."
The Interview Questions You Should Be Asking (CareerBuilder)
Before the interview process, ask YOURSELF some deep questions. What must the candidate absolutely be able to do? What are the three most important qualities of the job? Then, you'll be better equipped to conduct a real interview, not one that relies on gimmicky brain teasers.
If Your Unpaid Interns Are Productive and Valuable, You Could Be in Trouble (ERE.net)
A court ruled against Fox Searchlight last month for hiring two unpaid interns who later sued after their work on Black Swan involved getting coffee, cleaning sets and other non-educational tasks. The judge found that Fox Searchlight broke the law by not paying its interns.
College Grads Are 'Mal-Employed' (CNNMoney)
More than a third of recent college grads who have jobs are working in positions that don't require a degree, like waiting tables or bartending, according to a new study from Northeastern University. The official unemployment rate for college graduates under 25 is 7 percent, but that doesn't count the 150,000 in retail, 100,000 in food service and 80,000 in customer service.
Why Unpaid Internships Should Be Legal (U.S. News)
"The choice isn't between paying interns and not paying them," writes Alison Green. "It's between making it easier for students and recent graduates to get a certain kind of work experience that will eventually lead to paying work or making it harder for them."
AARP Releases Top Employers for Baby Boomers (MediaJobsDaily)
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and AARP compiled the list, which includes employers who offer enviable perks while actively recruiting and retaining baby boomers. And we would be remiss if we didn't point out we didn't see any media companies on the list. Hmmm...
Cubes: Code and Theory (MediabistroTV)
Step inside the Manhattan offices of this creative agency and see how and where the company does its best work.
--Compiled by Rachel Kaufman, co-editor, MediaJobsDaily.com
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