Legal news reports that New York State has now become the fourth jurisdiction to make it illegal for employers to “discriminate, harass, or retaliate or otherwise engage in unlawful employment practices,” against unpaid interns and those seeking jobs as unpaid interns.
If you are considering taking an internship or have questions about the laws concerning unpaid internships, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyer right away.
In recent years both federal and state lawmakers have been cracking down on the use of “unpaid” interns and have been making an effort to educate both employers and workers concerning when an intern must be paid. Generally – an intern must be paid unless they are working for their own benefit (such as personal training) rather than for the benefit of the employer. The U.S. Supreme Court, as codified by the Department of Labor, set forth the following general rules. These include:
1. That the internship is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment.
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.
5. the intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
A few jurisdictions are now following suit, making it illegal not to pay interns. These include New York, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and NYC.
For more information or if you have questions about internships, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.