Interns across the country have filed class-action suits against employers such as Fox Entertainment Group and Hearst Corp. The plaintiffs claim they were incorrectly classified as interns when they should have been classified as employees and paid wages. In many of these cases, the interns allege they performed office work such as answering telephones, preparing copies, making deliveries or getting lunch for paid employees. The plaintiffs allege that had the interns not performed these tasks, the employers would have had to hire more paid staff or required existing paid staff to work additional hours.
Considering the current economic climate, many high school and college students across New Hampshire are eager to enter an internship and be paid with valuable experience, or to accept a stipend that is less than minimum wage. Employers in all industries are often eager to welcome unpaid interns to have extra hands available. But accepting interns can make a business vulnerable to liability if the internships are not properly designed and monitored.
Originally published in New Hampshire Business Review on October 4th, 2013.
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