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To pay or not to pay: Interns aren’t just a source of free labor

by on
in Hiring,Human Resources

It’s summertime, and college interns are filling corporate America’s cubicles. How many of those fresh-faced kids are wage-and-hour lawsuits just waiting to happen?

THE LAW: The Fair Labor Stand­­ards Act (FLSA) does not specifically address whether interns must be paid. However, where the law is silent, the Supreme Court has spoken. In Walling v. Portland Terminal Co. (330 U.S. 148, 1947), the High Court ruled that individuals who work without any express or implied compensation agreement on an employer’s premises are not employees, even if they benefit by receiving training or experience. Needless to say, that case still left many questions unanswered.

WHAT’S NEW: Unpaid interns working on the movie “Black Swan” sued the producers, claiming they were, in reality, employees and en­­titled to compensation. The court ruled in the interns’ favor in Glatt, et al., v. Fox Searchlight Pictures (SD NY, No. 11-Civ.-6784, 2013).

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