For centuries, not-for-profit organizations have relied on services performed by volunteers. For decades, services also have been provided by unpaid interns. In the private, for-profit sector, however, the issue of unpaid workers has generated controversy and spawned lawsuits. Indeed, although the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) may be starting to take a more relaxed approach toward the prosecution of companies using unpaid interns, in early 2012 several entertainment industry employers were hit with wage-and-hour class actions challenging the status of unpaid internships and whether the individuals at issue should have instead been classified as employees and paid wages.
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