Mass Exploitation Hidden in Plain Sight: Unpaid Internships and the Culture of Uncompensated Work
16 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2016
Although gaining internship experience has become a largely expected rite of passage for those seeking entry into many professions and vocations, until recently the legal implications of unpaid internships remained something of a sleeping giant. In recent years, however, growing attention has been directed to this subject through litigation, legislative advocacy, social activism, and media coverage. This essay, building on my previous scholarship on this topic and written in connection with the Idaho Law Review’s April 2016 symposium on employment issues, will summarize the emergence of the so-called intern economy, examine the two primary legal issues relating to unpaid internships, and discuss several significant, broader policy themes concerning the intersection of internships, education, and the nature of paid employment.
Keywords: Unpaid internships, contingent labor, employment law, labor standards, employment discrimination, higher education
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