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Workplace Fairness Weekly

Workplace Fairness Weekly

Topic of the Week  How Interns Are Protected In the Workplace

In today’s economy, internships are often a critical aspect of finding an entry-level position. More and more students are accepting internships to provide themselves with experience prior to applying for a full-time job. Almost a third of college students report working at an unpaid internship during their college years. Despite their popularity, interns face a lot of issues at their workplaces, like low or no pay, menial labor, and a lack of protections. It is important to know your rights as an intern to ensure you receive a meaningful and positive internship experience.

1. Are unpaid internships legal?

Yes, unpaid internships are legal if they primarily benefit the intern. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has a test, the “primary beneficiary test”, for determining whether an internship is legally allowed to be unpaid.

 

2. What employment rights do interns have?

Paid interns, or employees who are called interns, have the same employment rights as other workers, such as a right to overtime, protection from harassment, and legislatively mandated leaves. All paid and unpaid interns are likely protected from illegal discrimination based on a protected characteristic like race, religion, gender, age, and sexual orientation. However, many states don’t have many laws protecting unpaid interns from sexual harassment.

 

3. I am still a student, but I want to apply for a government fellowship. May I apply for a government fellowship while I am still in school?

Typically, government fellowships are geared towards people who have advanced degrees or comparable work experience. If you are a current graduate student who has an anticipated graduation date that precedes the expected start date for the fellowship, you may qualify for a government fellowship. However, you will need to confirm the specific qualifications required for any fellowship on the job listing. 

Thought of the Week

"If the intern performs work that benefits the employer and that would otherwise be performed by a regular employee, it is unlikely to be an internship. Interns are not a way to get free labor."

–Brandon Ruiz, Attorney

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Why It’s Important To Have an Employee-First Mindset with Business Decisions

Putting employees first in business decision-making is integral to the stability and longevity of a
company.

Top Five News Headlines

  1. The Fed’s Fight Against Inflation Could Cost the US 1.2 Million Jobs
  2. New ‘Striketober’ Looms as US Walkouts Increase Amid Surge in Union Activity
  3. Russia Gives Citizenship to Ex-NSA Contractor Edward Snowden
  4. Spain Plans ‘Digital Nomad’ Visa Scheme to Attract Remote Workers
  5. NYC Appeals Ruling Over Vaccine Mandate for Police Officers

List of the Week

from Workplace Fairness

Did you know that:

  • 1/3 of internships are unpaid
  • interns cannot legally perform the tasks of employees without compensation

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The Workplace Fairness Attorney Directory features lawyers from across the United States who primarily represent workers in employment cases. Please note that Workplace Fairness does not operate a lawyer referral service and does not provide legal advice, and that Workplace Fairness is not responsible for any advice that you receive from anyone, attorney or non-attorney, you may contact from this site.

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