Are You Getting Screwed at Your Internship?

By: Ashish Walla

InternsNow that summer’s about to begin, everyone’s excited about starting their new internships. A solid internship can help you in your career by providing you with networking opportunities, giving you new experiences, and helping you gain some new skills. However, not all internships are created equal. Let’s find out if your employer is taking advantage of you.  Here’s the situation that raises eyebrows: you’re an intern working for a private entity, and yet you don’t get paid for your work. This creates a serious issue because your employer might be violating laws that are designed to protect you.

Typically, you are presumed to be an employee of the company as an intern which entitles you to compensation. However, there is a loophole that exists if the employer meets the test created by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Here’s the criteria that can excuse an employer from paying you for your internship. Please keep in mind that all of these criteria must be satisfied:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

So what do you do now?

If you do feel like you’re getting taken advantage of, you can take a few actions. You can visit the Department of Labor’s website and contact them to tell them about a violation. You can also speak to an employment attorney to speak to them about your situation and see if you’re entitled to any compensation. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting an internship, but don’t let the hype fool you; make sure your rights aren’t being violated.#internship #FLSA #FairLaborStandardsAct


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