On Sept. 29th, 2011 the NY Times reported on a lawsuit filed against Fox Searchlight Pictures, the producer of “Black Swan,” by two disgruntled former interns.
The suit claims that Fox had the interns perform "menial work that should have been done by paid employees and did not provide them with the type of educational experience that labor rules require in order to exempt employers from paying interns."
If the court agrees, Fox has a problem. The Fair Labor Standards Act says interns in the “for-profit” private sector should be paid, unless all of the following conditions are met:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
Thanks to UCF Film graduate Josh Goldman for the link.