The Court Ruling That Could End Unpaid Internships for Good

The unpaid intern, that lowly, coffee-scalded creature of the modern office, might be about to become a thing of the past.

For the last two years, media companies have been combating a series of lawsuits brought by interns claiming the right to a paycheck under state and federal law. Things began looking good for team management this past May, after a federal court scuttled the class action filed by a former Harper’s Bazaar intern against Hearst Magazines.

But yesterday, corporate’s luck took a turn for the worse. A federal district judge in Manhattan, William H. Pauley III, ruled that Fox Searchlight studios had indeed broken New York and federal minimum wage laws by failing to pay two interns who had worked on the set of its Oscar-winning flick “Black Swan.” A few pages later in his opinion, Judge Pauly proceeded to greenlight a class action sought by an intern who had worked in Fox Entertainment Group’s offices.

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