Friday, April 2, 2010

That Unpaid Internship May be Illegal

Because of the current job market, many employers are hiring more unpaid interns than usual. A lot of these arrangements are actual illegal, according to this article:

Looking for Experience, Providing Free Labor

There are very specific legal requirements from the federal government. The article describes some of those that are commonly violated:

Among those criteria are that the internship should be similar to the training given in a vocational school or academic institution, that the intern does not displace regular paid workers and that the employer “derives no immediate advantage” from the intern’s activities — in other words, it’s largely a benevolent contribution to the intern.

If your unpaid internship involves making copies and addressing envelopes in exchange for nothing but course credit (and perhaps the dangling carrot of a possible future position), there's a good chance it's illegal.

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