CR-CL Podcast LogoCR-CL’s Executive Editors for Online Content Noah Kaplan and Matt Giffin get together each week to discuss the important topics in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.  The show begins with our weekly news round-up, This Week in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.  Our guest this week is HarvardCRCL.org employment law blogger Minal Caron.  This week’s episode looks at two topics:

1) The Supreme Court this week granted certiorari on Fisher v. University of Texas.  What is the future of affirmative action in university admissions?  What does the Court’s changed composition since Grutter suggest about the decision to hear this case?  What are the implications of a decision potentially overturning Grutter?

2) Minal discusses his recent post on HarvardCRCL.org about a lawsuit challenging the use of unpaid internships in competitive for-profit industries.  Noah, Matt, and Minal discuss the socio-economic implications of allowing loopholes in the Fair Labor Standards Act, and whether government internships should be allowed to be unpaid.

Please email questions, comments, corrections, or suggestions to CRCLonline@gmail.com.  Thanks for downloading, and enjoy the show!

Episode 3 – Fisher v. University of Texas, Affirmative Action, and Unpaid Internships

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  1. Minal Caron says:

    One clarification on the internships segment: the Fair Labor Standards Act does apply to government employees. Although the FLSA did not originally give wage and hour protection to government employees, it was gradually amended to include them. The inclusion of federal employees in particular created some tension and confusion with other federal laws, so responsibility for administering the FLSA as it pertains to federal employees was taken away from the Department of Labor in the 1970s and has been handled by another federal agency ever since. That agency handles the scope of exemptions from wage and hour protections very differently than does the Department of Labor (which administers the FLSA for everyone else).

    So when talking about how the Department of Labor promulgates regulations and generally enforces the FLSA, we are not referring to the FLSA’s coverage of federal employees, even though the statute itself protects federal employees.

    In particular, for the purposes of the unpaid internship discussion, federal and other government interns are not required to be paid, or at least the Department of Labor stated this in 2010. Here is a link to a document that provides further information on the wage and hour protections for federal employees: http://www.nffelocal1563.org/references/030526_FLSAPaper.pdf

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