FLSA

If you were hoping to spend a year with no pay helping a premier Internet publication write up a sighting of Amanda Bynes at Shake Shack, you may soon be out of luck.

On the heels of Judge William Pauley ruling in favor of unpaid interns in the entertainment industry, the Internet behemoth that is Gawker Media is the subject of a new class action for its unpaid internships.

Which means this was probably a bad day for them to make jokes about the practice of abusing interns…

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BP Interns preparing to take over operations at Deepwater Horizon, April 19, 2010.

For the record, that was not the “royal ‘we’” in the title — here at Above the Law, we pay our interns. But a whole lot of folks don’t, because when no one else is hiring, companies can get away with offering to hire folks for the promise of experience and a cup of coffee (disclaimer: “Cup of Coffee” not provided).

Mercifully, law firms haven’t succumbed to the impulse to bring on interns for free. Oops, spoke too soon (fourth item).

But Judge William Pauley of the Southern District of New York delivered some big wins for unpaid interns yesterday…

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Experience doesn’t pay the rent.

The ABA agrees that exploitation of law students and other interns is unacceptable; however, the FLSA uncertainty inhibits law firms from offering students the opportunity to work on pro bono matters in a real-life practice setting. …

Furthermore, in the current economic climate with shrunken employment opportunities for law school graduates, hindering the ability of law students and recent graduates to work side-by-side with experienced lawyers who could provide both strong mentoring and favorable substantive references unnecessarily reduces access for future employment prospects.

Laurel Bellows, president of the American Bar Association, in a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor endorsing the use by private law firms of unpaid law student and graduate labor.

(Absurd and out of touch? I’d say so. Keep reading to see the entire letter.)

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Aww... does your head hurt? Maybe you'd feel better if you DID YOUR FREAKING JOB!

This has been one hell of a day for ridiculous lawsuits. We’ve already dealt with Octomoms turned strippers and thick girls who want to go to law school. Now we’ve got an office worker who claims that the pressure of her job led to her heart condition.

Accountant Tammy Armstrong is claiming wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress because her employer asked her to do a lot of work. She also wants to be paid overtime because her employer had the audacity to claim her as a salaried worker and then paid her a salary.

Basically, if she wins, then every single junior office worker in law or finance should be able to sue their employers. Which makes me think she’s not going to win…

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