Internships have been part and parcel to many educational programs for decades. When done well, they provide a benefit to both the intern and the company. The intern gets valuable hands-on experience in a real-life work environment, developing skills and attaining knowledge that simply can’t be found in the classroom. For potential employers, it can be an effective marketing tool, giving them exposure to the best and brightest. Unfortunately, in many instances, the internship has become little more than free labor. With legislative direction to prevent the financial exploitation of workers, the U.S. Department of Labor has established a six-part test to determine whether an unpaid internship is a violation of federal law.
The Department of Labor requires that all of the following provisions be met, if an unpaid internship is to be considered legal:
In a recent case involving two interns at Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox argued that the test for determining the legitimacy of an unpaid internship should be based on whether the benefits to the intern outweigh the benefits to the company. The court rejected this argument, citing the DOL provision that an unpaid internship cannot provide immediate advantage to an employer.
If you spent time as an unpaid intern, or as a trainee, provisional employee or probationary employee, but received little or no educational benefit, we can help you seek compensation as part of class action litigation. To learn more about the litigation, and find out whether you qualify for a potential claim, call us at (516)-873-9500 or (212)743-9080 (toll free at 800-585-4658), or contact us online.