Interns pose NY EPL Risks for Business

Interns pose NY EPL Risks for Business
Interns pose NY EPL Risks for Business

If your company is looking for a few extra hands this summer with your work load interns may seem like a shining beacon of hope in a struggling economy. However, the U.S. Department of Labor has explicit expectations about the value of your internship offerings. Gone are the days of free labor and unpaid novice worker bees whizzing through your halls for the benefit of your business. Increasing quantities of law suits are brought by interns against their host employers for numerous reasons, thus any good internship program begins by assessing your business’s NY EPL risks.

When offering an internship there are some important conditions dictated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Any potential employer must understand their obligations as a host company.

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all internships be offered for the expressed benefit of the intern.
  • They must ensure that the benefit of the internship is for the educational enhancement of the intern. This requires that the training environment reflect a scholarly program with in-depth training and an academic like experiences.
  • The internship should provide participants with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings and are not tailored to one specific workplace.
  • An intern is not an employee and therefore should not be expected to produce or participate in routine work of the business on a reoccurring basis.
  • The business may not depend on the work generated by the unpaid intern. If the intern’s work is being utilized for the benefit of the business they are not excluded from FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime policies. If an employer would have required adding an additional employee to their staff to generate the work produced by the intern, then the intern would essentially be treated as an employee and compensation under FLSA.
  • Pay or non-payment must be agreed upon by both parties.
  • Interns are protected in most cases against harassment, discrimination and other fair workplace practices and the infringement of their rights could create costly liability risks for employers.

Internships can be rewarding, however they can also be tricky to successfully execute. At the Rubin Group we understand the needs of our customers and have extensive experience working with a vast variety of industries. We offer Risk Assessment and Management services to help you understand the exposures your business face when taking on new personnel, while our Employment Practices Liability coverage will help protect against any employment mishaps. Call us today at (877) 806-7239 for details about how we can help protect your business.