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Should I be paid for my internship? Is my unpaid internship legal?


Interns may be employees entitled to compensation regardless of whether their internship is “unpaid.” Contact our Ohio Unpaid Wages Lawyers.

Many employers misclassify employees as “interns” in order to attempt to not provide any compensation or benefits when in fact the interns are employees. If an employer is going to have an unpaid internship, there are many potential issues that may arise, not the least of which is whether the intern is entitled to pay. Our Ohio unpaid wages lawyers are here to assist you with any questions about your right to compensation.

There are six criteria under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for determining whether an internship can be unpaid:

  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.

Interns in the non-profit or public sector may not need to be paid. In regards to for-profit employers, the more the internship is used for the benefit of the employer and the more the employee performs productive work, the more likely the intern is actually an employee and entitled to pay. If, however, a for-profit employer structures the unpaid internship like a classroom or academic experience, the more likely it is that the unpaid internship is legal.

If you are working in an unpaid internship for a for-profit company, you should consult with our Ohio unpaid wages lawyers to discuss the circumstances with your internship and your right to compensation. As with anything, whether you should be entitled to pay depends upon the circumstances of the internship. If you are entitled to pay, you will be entitled to at least minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as overtime wages for hours worked over 40 per week. In addition, you will be entitled to liquidated damages and attorney’s fees.

Our Ohio employment attorneys are here to speak with you about your unpaid internship. We represent interns and other employees in all types of wage and hour disputes. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss your compensation issues with you. Call our office today for a FREE consultation at 1-614-949-1181 with our Ohio unpaid wages lawyers.


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