Magazine article HRMagazine

3 Steps to Avoid Legal Problems Surrounding Unpaid Internships

Magazine article HRMagazine

3 Steps to Avoid Legal Problems Surrounding Unpaid Internships

Article excerpt

Many plaintiffs' class-action suits lately have targeted unpaid internships, such as in litigation involving interns at Harper's Bazaar magazine and on the set of the movie "Black Swan." While some experts think unpaid internships should be abandoned altogether, Camille Olson, an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw in its San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles offices, believes they can work under the right circumstances. The key is to think of them as teaching opportunities in which the intern, not the employer, is the primary beneficiary. Olson recommends taking these steps:

Step 1

Set up a training program that specifically describes the intern's "work," which in this context means learning opportunities. Flesh out the description fully, including the hours and benefits, well in advance of when the intern starts. …

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