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The Death Of Unpaid Internships: What It Really Means For Workers

aol.com—Claire Gordon

In the first ruling of its kind, a judge decided last week that two unpaid interns at Fox Searchlight were legally employees, and should have been paid. What does this mean for the future of the unpaid internship? Will it go the way of child labor, and become a relic of a less enlightened time? And if it does, will there be fewer internships altogether, depriving countless young people of all the goodness they provide?

These are the questions chewed on in the June 21 edition of "Lunchtime Live," AOL Jobs' live weekly video series. The two stellar guests were Sally Abrahamson*, one of the attorneys who represented the two unpaid Fox interns in their lawsuit, and AOL Jobs contributor Lauren Berger, a veteran of 15 unpaid internships, who now runs the internship resource site Intern Queen. Abrahamson broke down the landmark ruling: "I think the focus really is, what kind of system has the employer set up? Have they set up a program that is equivalent to academic training, that actually should actually impede their business? There shouldn't be a monetary incentive to having an intern. If anything, it should be harmful to their economic status."

Was there cordial disagreement or virulent name-calling? Did Berger defend unpaid internships, and then find herself the defendant in a class action lawsuit? (You also can watch the full version here).

*(admitted pro hac vice; not admitted in New York, admitted in Texas and the District of Columbia only)