Interns Deserve Income
Even though internships are still viewed as beneficial for students, some are beginning to argue that internships have become an easy source of free labor in tough times. Since job openings for young adults are quite scarce, the number of unpaid internships has sky rocketed over the years. For these reasons, federal and state regulators have been lead to believe that more employers are illegally using internships for free labor. The purpose of internships is to allow them while in college or fresh out of college to practice skills, gain beneficial work experience and develop valuable connections in order to become better in the in the field they desire to work in. The United States government should require for-profit companies to pay all interns; if an intern's work benefits a company, he or she should be paid for it. Interns deserve to be paid because unpaid internships lack discrimination and harassment protections in a workplace, are exploitative, and are unfair for lower income students.
Discrimination and harassment are and can be a big problem for unpaid interns. One of the most upsetting cases involving the absence of legal protections for unpaid interns is O'Connor v. Davis. In 1995, Bridget O'Connor, a student at Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, was required to perform an internship in order to meet the requirements for a degree in social work. In her senior year she began an internship at a nearby state-operated hospital for the mentally ill; during her work there, she was sexually harassed by a psychiatrist employed by the hospital. She continued her internship at another hospital and filed a lawsuit against the college she attended and the hospital where she endured the harassment; her case was dismissed because she was not a legal employee and could not claim protection under the law. (“Discrimination and Harassment”). Several federal legislation pieces such as the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disability Act,...
Cited: • "Unpaid Interns Lack Discrimination and Harassment Protections in Workplace (sidebar)." Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. .
• "Unpaid Internships." Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. .
• Greenhouse, Steven. "The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not." New York Times (2010): 1-2. Web. 11 Nov 2010. .
• Editorial and Dissent: Unpaid internship programs."The Daily Princetonian (2010): 1. Web. 11 Nov 2010. .
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