The debate over unpaid internships is heating up in the U.S. following a recent court ruling that said Fox Searchlight Pictures violated federal minimum wage laws by not paying interns who worked on the 2010 film Black Swan. A similar case, filed by two former interns against the media giant Conde Nast, is also before a New York court.
Eric Glatt, one of the plaintiffs in the Black Swan case, says everyone should be paid for the work they do. He hopes the ruling will prevent companies, and by extension universities, from taking advantage of young people who are just starting out in their careers.
"I hope this sends a shockwave to employers throughout the country and hopefully around the world," said Glatt during a recent interview on CBC’s Day 6. "This is a problem young people are facing worldwide — this institutionalization, this normalization of a form of wage theft."
But Maegan Smulders sees it differently. The Canadian "super intern" — who made headlines last year upon completing 10 internships in 112 days — says unpaid internships are both a choice and a good way to increase one’s value on the job market.
"I don’t believe education is enough for young people these days… Being able to do different experiences is really what builds a portfolio and the ability to get a job after school," she said.
Glatt and Smulders talked about the pros and cons of unpaid internships with Day 6 host Brent Bambury.