The United States government should require for-profit companies to pay all interns; if an intern's work benefits a company, he or she should be paid for it.Interns deserve to be paid because unpaid internships lack discrimination and harassment protections in a workplace, are exploitative, and are unfair for lower income students. Discrimination and harassment are and can be a big problem for unpaid interns. One of the most upsetting cases involving the absence of legal protections for unpaid interns is O'Connor v. Davis. In 1995, Bridget O'Connor, a student at Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, was required to perform an internship in order to meet the requirements for a degree in social work.In her senior year she began an internship at a nearby state-operated hospital for the mentally ill; during her work there, she was sexually harassed by a psychiatrist employed by the hospital.
She continued her internship at another hospital and filed a lawsuit against the college she attended and the hospital where she endured the harassment; her case was dismissed because she was not a legal employee and could not claim protection under the law. (“Discrimination and Harassment”).Several federal legislation pieces such as the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disability Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protect employees from sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace; if the interns are not being paid then they are not considered employees and can not sue their employers under those statutes. (“Unpaid Interns”). Critics add that unpaid internships allow companies to get something for nothing. Many students claimed they held internships in the past that involved non-educational menial work. (“The New York Times”).
Unpaid internships often become a form of mutual exploitation where neither party is actually invested in the internship. On the other hand, paid internships benefit both employers and interns more than unpaid internships; Interns take paid jobs more seriously and more critically, employers are motivated to keep track of paid interns to maximize the return on their investment, which naturally leads to a better learning experience. In contrast, unpaid interns have little motivation to do good work and employers likewise have little at stake in supervising or training them. (“The Daily Princetonian”)Considering the fact that most interns are college students, it only makes sense for these students to require a source of income to help them pay for college or anything else they need. Many less affluent students say they cannot afford to spend their summers at unpaid internships, and in any case, they often do not have an uncle or family golf buddy who can connect them to a prestigious internship. According to the staff of the Harvard Crimson, "The majority of firms expressly cite relevant work experience in the form of internships as the primary motivation to hire a recent college graduate.As it stands, if you can't afford to work without pay before graduating, you might not work at all afterwards.
" As true as this may be, if these lower income students cannot receive pay for their labor then they may not be able to continue to pay for school, or they could possibly suffer from debt. A lot of these students have to help their families with financial situations as well as themselves; it is not fair to ask them to work hard for no reward, because even if they do go through with an internship these students still are not guaranteed a job after college.Unpaid internships widen the gap between wealthy and poor applicants because only well-off students can afford to work for free; then they use that internship experience to get better-paying jobs after graduation. (“Unpaid Internships”). In summation the government should enforce its regulations, and require monetary compensation for interns whose work benefits a company. Since paid internships are under the Civil Rights Act, Americans with Disability Act, nd the Age Discrimination in Employment Act the interns are protected from harassment of all sorts. The fact that unpaid internships are exploitative, where most employers are making interns run insignificant errands shows that the employers do not care about getting the interns to a place of comfort in their field, because they are not paying them.
Paid internships can be invaluable to the interns involved in them; helping the students to get where they need to be in the field of their choice.Works Cited "Unpaid Interns Lack Discrimination and Harassment Protections in Workplace (sidebar). " Issues ; Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Dec.
2010. . • "Unpaid Internships. " Issues ; Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 20 Sept. 2010. Web.
13 Dec. 2010. . • Greenhouse, Steven. "The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not. " New York Times (2010): 1-2. Web.
11 Nov 2010. . • Editorial and Dissent: Unpaid internship programs. "The Daily Princetonian (2010): 1. Web. 11 Nov 2010. .