Warning Signs of an Illegal Unpaid Internship

illegal unpaid internship

The individual working in an illegal unpaid internship can take legal action to recover wages and damages.

The Illegal Unpaid Internship

Workers have a right to fair compensation. Several state and federal laws protect workers from exploitation by setting the standards for minimum wages, overtime regulations, etc. To avoid paying their workers pursuant to these laws, some employers hire workers into “unpaid internships.” Not all unpaid internships are lawful, however, which means that many unpaid interns are owed wages and damages. If you believe you are an exploited intern who is owed payment, you are encouraged to contact an attorney right away.

How do I know if I am in an illegal unpaid internship?

In order to be lawful, an unpaid internship must meet several criteria. If your internship does not meet all the criteria, you are working in an illegal unpaid internship and, therefore, are entitled to wages and damages from your employer.

Warning signs of an illegal unpaid internship:

  • Your unpaid internship is dissimilar to training you would receive at an educational institution
  • Your employer receives the primary benefit
  • Your internship displaces other employees or you are doing work that paid employees should be doing
  • There is an obvious, immediate advantage to your employer
  • You are guaranteed a job at the conclusion of your internship
  • You were not aware that you would not be receiving compensation for your internship

Lawful unpaid internships are quite rare. Many employers do not structure their internships as formal training programs and, therefore, the internships do not meet all criteria. Exploited interns in an illegal unpaid internship are often given responsibilities and duties that are more apt for entry-level employees than for interns. In a lawful unpaid internship, the intern should be working under close supervision of employees, but not doing their duties for them.

Contact an Unpaid Intern Attorney

If you believe you may be owed wages and damages as a result of an illegal unpaid internship, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC is a Pennsylvania law firm with principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, serving all counties in Pennsylvania. The attorneys at KM&A will fight to ensure that you receive all the wages and damages you are entitled to under the law. Contact us for a free and immediate consultation. We can be reached in western Pennsylvania at 412-693-6096 or in eastern Pennsylvania at 610-298-1746. We can also be reached by email at lawyer@lawkm.com.