Many employers have found themselves in hot water when they learn that one of their interns is suing them for wages and overtime. In some cases, employees are misclassified as interns and denied wages they should receive. Some employers intentionally misclassify employees as interns to get free labor and pay less taxes. However, other employers simply don’t know the law.
Do employers have to pay interns?
It depends on the type of work they do. Employers don’t have to pay interns minimum wage like regular employees. However, an intern must receive some type of educational benefit to truly be an intern rather than an employee. The U.S. Department of Labor considers various factors to determine if a worker is an intern:
- Did the employer hire the intern through a school program?
- Did the intern actually receive educational or real-world training?
- Did the intern displace regular employees?
- Did the intern work under close supervision?
- Did the intern provide an immediate advantage to the employer, or did he/she actually slow down or impede the employer’s work?
- Did the intern or the employer benefit more from the arrangement?
- Is the intern entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship?
- Do the employer and intern agree that the employer does not have to pay the intern?
Did my employer misclassify me?
Depending on the circumstances, you may have been misclassified as an intern if you provided an immediate advantage to the employer, if you displaced regular employees, or if you did not receive educational or real-world training. For example, in one case, a hospital misclassified students as radiology technician interns. Instead of placing students with employed radiology technicians, the program often assigned students to areas of the hospital staffed by other students. Students frequently performed X-rays by themselves.
If your employer misclassified you as an intern, you may have a right to minimum wage and overtime. DC employers must pay their employees at least $12.50 per hour.
Do you need legal assistance?
If you believe your employer misclassified you as an intern, you may be entitled to pay for the hours you worked. Contact Alan Lescht and Associates, PC, today. Call us at (202) 463-6036, or email us. We represent private employees in DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia, and federal employees around the world.