Ex-Warner Music Group Interns Clear Hurdle in FLSA Case

, The Litigation Daily


In a setback for WMG's lawyers at Vedder Price, a judge agreed to invite about 3,000 former unpaid interns to join a proposed class action claiming the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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What's being said

  • Marc of JDCOT.com

    I hope these suits fail miserably. Both before and after law school, I did unpaid internships in the music business. As an outsider with no connections to the industry, this was the best way for me to break in. Was there "career training" as if I was a paid employee? No. And, frankly, there‘s not much "career training" for paid employees in the music business either. These internships were instead a fantastic opportunity to get to see the inner workings of the business. How else are you going to get the chance to basically spy on an organization for months at a time? You get to hear what employees are saying on the phone, what they‘re saying to each other, what documents are moving through the company, how different types of work flow through different departments....all while getting the opportunity to network with the staff, ask them questions, get career advice, meet people at related companies as an "insider" and greatly increase your odds of getting a paid job in the industry when the time is right?! You can not get this kind of experience, exposure or opportunity in a classroom. Sure, it would be nice to be paid. It would be nice to be paid to go to college too! The reality is that no one is forcing anyone to take an unpaid internship. If you‘re not willing to work for free in exchange for the opportunities I‘ve mentioned, then stay away. Get a summer job on Wall Street. Or be a server at Olive Garden.

    Thanks to my internships, I got to break in to the music industry and get paid to do some fun, exciting work. Had I not interned, that wouldn‘t have happened. Same goes for countless others in the industry. I chose to oversee the internship program in the marketing department at the record company where I worked (a Warner competitor). I can tell you that some great go-getters passed through the program and some total slugs passed through the program. I tried to make sure we taught our interns what happens in our department, what we do and how we do it. Some programs don‘t bother to do that - and in busy times, I know we weren‘t as good at that. But regardless, to get a lot out of an internship program it requires being a go-getter. Those who just sit back, make copies, lick envelopes and go home will get nothing out of an internship program. Many do just that. And then they bitch that the internship sucked. But those who are persistent, interact with the team, ask lots of questions, keep their eyes and ears open, keep exploring and treating the entire term as a fly-on-the-wall-mission, will walk away with a better understanding of the business, a better idea as to whether that career path fits them, they‘ll have a larger network, and a greater chance for getting hired into that industry.

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