Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, posted a story on his blog about his desire to hire a number of unpaid interns. The Department of Labor said he must pay the interns. Result: no interns who would have had the opportunity to work for a sports franchise, learn some new skills and pad their resume. Again, we see “we are from the government and are here to help you” in action.
I wanted to assemble a group of unpaid interns that would acquire video, write game reports, track unique stats, do interviews, interact with fans, and then compile all of this incremental media and provide it free to any and every outlet we could think of. If a middle school newspaper or website wanted up to the minute Mavs reports, check. We had em. Social networks ? All the content you need. Of course we would update our Mavs.com, mavswiki.com, friends.mavs.com websites and offer the content to any and every blogger out there. . . .
“The law says that interns have to be paid unless they are perfoming work that is of no value to the organization; ie., helps them in some way but we get no benefit from their work. Thus we would have to create work that is useless to us if we choose not to pay them. How silly is that?” . . .
The U.S. Department of Labor has outlined a list of criteria that ALL must be met in order for an internship to be unpaid.
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
- The training is for the benefit of the trainee;
- The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
- The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period; and
- The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.