Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy, in L Magazine, reminding unpaid interns to know their rights and avoid exploitation:
They should remember that interns are essentially workers in the vast majority of cases. As such, they are entitled to the same rights as workers—wages, overtime, workplace protections, and so on—and their work has value and dignity. They should be wary about unpaid situations and try to move quickly into paid ones. If they've spent time in an internship that doesn't meet the six-point test laid out by the Department of Labor, they should make it known and press for backpay.
And on which industries are the worst offenders for intern abuse and hiring elitism:
The glamor industries see so much demand to break in, and are so confident that people will do whatever it takes, that they're really pushing the envelope and demanding more and more of young people. Many of the worst stories of intern abuse tend to come from film and fashion. Publishing, the arts, and some parts of the non-profit world are pretty bad in terms of hiring interns on the basis of connections, keeping out people from lower-income backgrounds. Sometimes niche fields are among the worst: game-design internships, for example, are among the least likely to pay, just 11 percent according to one study.
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