Business

Court ruling triggers debate on fairness of unpaid internships

Lindsay Boegel with PAN Communications’ Gene Carozza. Boegel said having a paycheck makes her feel more confident in her job.
Lindsay Boegel with PAN Communications’ Gene Carozza. Boegel said having a paycheck makes her feel more confident in her job.Credit: Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

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Alexander Hayes of Boston doesn’t earn any money at his job editing hours of videos shot at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Nonetheless, he says, he values the opportunity to pad his resume before graduating from Emerson College.

A recent ruling by a US District judge in New York took a far less benevolent view of unpaid internships. It reinforced a decades-old federal law that says interns deserve a paycheck when they benefit a company and do the work of a regular employee.

Experts say the decision has no legal jurisdiction in Massachusetts. It did, however, spark a new — and some say long overdue — debate over an old employment practice that straddles the line of educational work experience and indentured servitude

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