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Exploitation or Valuable Experiential Learning Opportunity: Higher Education's Role in Creating Compliant Student Internships (EDU952P)

Presented by: Sacha Dyson
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Pre Recorded Webinar
90 minutes
Event Description
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1.5 Credits

Learn How Institutions of Higher Education Should Restructure Student Internships to Minimize Risks and Enhance the Overall Student Experience

In June 2013, a federal district court ruled in Glatt, et al v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., that certain unpaid interns providing services on the motion picture Black Swan were actually "employees" under federal and state wage laws, and thus entitled to compensation. This ruling comes on the heels of similar high-profile claims against companies like Conde Nast and the Hearst Corporation and as websites like and start to proliferate.

These disputes have re-ignited the debate over the use of internships as part of a university's curricular program. Defenders of academic internships point to accreditation encouragement, professional practice standards, and general academic benefits flowing from such efforts. Critics have questioned whether higher education institutions are condoning students' exploitation as free labor while schools collect tuition dollars. The debate over this issue continues while the Glatt decision is on review before the Second Circuit and state governments have started to weigh in by extending various employment laws to student interns. Thus, these recent developments have made clear that internships are not without some legal risk, and institutions of higher education need to understand and mitigate this risk if they hope to be able to provide opportunities to students.

In this webinar, our expert speaker, Sacha Dyson, board certified in labor and employment law by the Florida Bar, will explore the current debate over the use of internships as a curricular program and some of the reasons behind fostering internships for academic credit. She will shed light on the legal issues companies face in accepting interns, and explain how institutions of higher education can respond by structuring internships to both minimize risk and enhance the overall student experience.

Session Highlights:

Get answers to these important questions:

  • Why does the Black Swan case have any impact on institutions of higher education?
  • How has the debate surrounding the Black Swan case impacted internships, co-ops, and other forms of experiential education?
  • What is the current state of the law regarding unpaid internships?
  • Is an academic internship still an available option as an experiential opportunity for students?
  • Can an institution promote unpaid internships through its campus office?
  • What obstacles do companies face when considering an unpaid internship?
  • What legal standards will be used to review unpaid internships?
  • How can we limit the liability arising from unpaid internship programs?
  • What guidance should be provided to companies who are seeking an unpaid intern?
  • How do these developments impact clinical rotations or other internships required for accreditation?
  • What impact do these developments have on government or non-profit internships?
  • What are the best practices for preparing a compliant internship program?

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the framework of internships and explore the current debate over these opportunities.
  • Learn about the various legal analyses applied to unpaid internships in different jurisdictions.
  • Gain an understanding of the current state of the law, including a review of pending and newly enacted legislation and decisions, applicable to unpaid internships.
  • Gain insight into the legal issues employers face in accepting interns.
  • Explore the strategies for framing an institution of higher education's response.

Who should attend?

  • Administrators of educational institutions
  • Academic Advisors
  • Directors and managers of career services offices
  • Student affairs professionals
  • EEO coordinators and educational institution compliance managers
  • Risk management officers for educational institutions
  • Attorneys representing educational institutions
  • HR Professionals
About Our Speaker(s)

Sacha Dyson | Education Law SpeakerSacha Dyson
Sacha Dyson is currently a partner in Thompson, Sizemore, Gonzalez & Hearing, P.A. - a law firm located in Tampa, Florida, who represents businesses, governmental entities, and educational institutions in labor, employment, education, housing, and other civil rights disputes. She is board certified in labor and employm... More info

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    Event Title: Exploitation or Valuable Experiential Learning Opportunity: Higher Education's Role in Creating Compliant Student Internships
    Presenter(s): Sacha Dyson

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