A recent unpaid intern lawsuit filed in New York raises issues that every
intern should be aware of including, when should I be paid?
The New York unpaid intern case involves a former intern who worked for
the magazine Harper’s Bazaar. She has sued the magazine’s
publisher, Hearst Corporation, for violations of the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA). Specifically, she asserts that her internship violated the
FLSA because she was not paid. Accordingly to the lawsuit, she worked
at least 40 hours a week, and sometimes as much as 55 hours/week without
receiving pay or overtime wages.
The FLSA provides that all employees must be paid minimum wage and all
non-exempt workers who put in more than 40 hours in a work week are entitled
to overtime compensation at a rate of one and one-half times their standard
rate of pay. The laws are different for internships, allowing for some
“unpaid internships,” but the work relationship must meet
very specific criteria or the employer may be found guilty of violating
federal and state labor laws. If you have questions concerning an internship
or any other concern regarding your pay, consulting with an experienced
Atlanta wage and hour attorney is important to ensure you receive the pay you deserve.
As stated in the lawsuit “unpaid interns are becoming the modern-day
equivalent of entry-level employees, except that employers are not paying
them for the many hours they work. Employers’ failure to compensate
interns for their work, and the prevalence of the practice nationwide,
curtails opportunities for employment, fosters class divisions between
those who can afford to work for no wage and those who cannot, and indirectly
contributes to rising unemployment.”
Under the FLSA a company can legally offer an unpaid internship under
the following circumstances:
• the internship is educational and for the benefit of the intern
• unpaid interns cannot displace regular employees • the employer
that provides the internship derives no immediate advantage from the activity
of the intern and may have its operations impeded on occasion.
For more information about internships or for any wage and hour question,
please contact the Georgia back pay lawyers at Buckley Beal LLP for an