Workplace Rights

Weekly (9/5/22)

Topic of the Week  How Interns Are Protected In the Workplace

In today’s economy, internships are often a critical aspect of finding an entry-level position. More and more students are accepting internships to provide themselves with experience prior to applying for a full-time job. Almost a third of college students report working at an unpaid internship during their college years. Despite their popularity, interns face a lot of issues at their workplaces, like low or no pay, menial labor, and a lack of protections. It is important to know your rights as an intern to ensure you receive a meaningful and positive internship experience.

1. Are unpaid internships legal?

Yes, unpaid internships are legal if they primarily benefit the intern. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has a test, the “primary beneficiary test”, for determining whether an internship is legally allowed to be unpaid.

 

2. What employment rights do interns have?

Paid interns, or employees who are called interns, have the same employment rights as other workers, such as a right to overtime, protection from harassment, and legislatively mandated leaves. All paid and unpaid interns are likely protected from illegal discrimination based on a protected characteristic like race, religion, gender, age, and sexual orientation. However, many states don’t have many laws protecting unpaid interns from sexual harassment.

 

3. I am still a student, but I want to apply for a government fellowship. May I apply for a government fellowship while I am still in school?

Typically, government fellowships are geared towards people who have advanced degrees or comparable work experience. If you are a current graduate student who has an anticipated graduation date that precedes the expected start date for the fellowship, you may qualify for a government fellowship. However, you will need to confirm the specific qualifications required for any fellowship on the job listing. 

Thought of the Week

"If the intern performs work that benefits the employer and that would otherwise be performed by a regular employee, it is unlikely to be an internship. Interns are not a way to get free labor."

–Brandon Ruiz, Attorney

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

How Employee Upskilling Prevents Disruption

When you upskill, you’re able to play an active role in a business’ transformation. That’s a huge confidence boost.

Top Five News Headlines

  1. Travel Nurses' Gold Rush is Over, Some are Leaving the Profession
  2. Millennial Quit Her Job, Works Less for More Money as a Voiceover Artist
  3. One of the Biggest Strikes in US History is Brewing at UPS
  4. Biden Administration Jumps into Rail, Union Talks Hoping to Avert Strike
  5. Lack of US Workers Is ‘Bigger Threat’ Than Inflation, Labor Secretary Walsh Says

List of the Week

from Workplace Fairness

Did you know that:

  • 1/3 of internships are unpaid
  • interns cannot legally perform the tasks of employees without compensation

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