Intern Status: What You Need to Know from the Department of Labor

Intern Status: What You Need to Know from the Department of Labor

WASHINGTON, DC — The debate about how to classify an intern for the purposes of FLSA has been ongoing for a long time and took many turns in the discussion. In 2010, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a six-part test to help determine the case, however, several appellate courts have rejected this test. One of these courts developed their own test that analyzed the economic reality of the interns’ relationship with their employer to determine which party is the primary beneficiary in the relationship.

Is overtime pay required for an unpaid internship?

The first part to answering this question is determining whether the intern is legally required to be paid for the work they do at the firm. Unpaid internships are legal as long as they meet a set of criteria. The following is a list of six factors that can determine if the intern has the right to be paid for their services.

  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.

If all of these criteria are met, the intern is not required to be paid for their work. However, it is important to speak with a lawyer if you believe that the work you have done does not fall under all of these circumstances. An experienced overtime pay attorney can analyze your situation and determine if you are eligible to receive payment for your work.

Under the DOL’s former test, which was comprised of six enumerated factors, the intern was deemed an employee unless all six of the factors weighed in the employer’s favor.  Under the new test, which was outlined in and updated fact sheet for internship programs, the DOL sets out the seven non-exhaustive factors from the primary beneficiary test developed by the Second Circuit.

Whether an intern is classified as an employee for purposes of the FLSA will be determined on a case by case basis.  If the factors reveal the intern is an employee, then the intern will be entitled to the protections of the FLSA, including the minimum wage requirements.

Filing an Unpaid Overtime Pay Lawsuits

If your employer is denying you overtime pay or has not paid you overtime wages in the past, you may be entitled to file an overtime pay lawsuit. Under the recent court decisions,l you may be able to sue for overtime wages even if your employment contract has an arbitration clause.Many overtime lawsuits are filed as class action lawsuits by a group of employees against their employer and you can often choose to join that lawsuit or file your own separate claim.

FLSA Overtime Lawsuits

Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.

Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.

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