As we have reported in our blog, the U.S. Department of Labor has guidelines about internships to prevent employers from taking advantage of loopholes to avoid paying workers.
If your internship is not providing you with an enriching educational experience and you are being asked to perform tasks normally assigned to other employees without pay, then you should contact our labor attorneys.
In California, employers must submit an outline of a proposed internship to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) before allowing an intern to perform tasks. Recently, there have been several high profile lawsuits filed against companies seeking back pay for interns, who feel like they have been taken advantage of.
In one class action case, publisher Condé Nast agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle a case brought by thousands of former interns who said the company failed to pay or underpaid them at the company’s high-end magazines.
The settlement agreement was filed in the U.S. District Court in New York and covers around 7,500 interns who worked at magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair.
It should be noted that the company ended its internship program after the lawsuit was filed. One of the interns claimed that she was paid $1 per hour for organizing accessories in the fashion closet at W Magazine.
Are Interns Entitled to Pay?
Should interns be paid? It is an interesting question and one you should ask our labor attorneys if you have concerns. Sadly, we have seen many cases where companies have taken advantage of the job market for young professionals by not paying them.
If you believe that a company is taking advantage of your internship, you should contact our labor attorneys. We can review your case and determine if you are entitled to damages. As this case shows, you can seek compensation for back pay.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys