• Summer Internships
  • March 26, 2012 | Author: Jamie B. Dokovna
  • Law Firm: Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. - Miami Office
  • Ah, spring is in the air and summer is just around the corner. What does that mean? Summer internships of course.

    With every upcoming summer, certain businesses must assess their needs for summer interns and ultimately make a decision whether to hire them. For interns, this experience can be invaluable. It allows individuals to fill gaps in their resumes, gain experience in a particular industry, make business contacts, and sometimes find gainful employment.

    For businesses though, deciding whether to hire an intern can sometimes be difficult. As I discussed last year, this decision can be especially difficult if the internship is going to be unpaid because there are strict laws that must be followed in order for the unpaid internship to be lawful. Making matters worse, last year, the Department of Labor decided to start cracking down on unpaid internships, which didn't make the decision to hire interns any easier.

    This year, as reported by Paul Davidson, many employers are doing away with such unpaid internship programs in the wake of the crack down and recent lawsuits that have been filed. For example, last month, an unpaid intern sued Harper's Bazaar claiming that she was forced to do work that was normally done by a paid fashion assistant. Fox Searchlight Pictures was also sued by interns who claimed that they performed work that was customarily done by paid employees.

    So, if you are in business and looking to hire an intern this summer, what does this mean? You just need to exercise caution in hiring especially if the internship is going to be unpaid. If you question whether the internship meets the criteria set forth by the Department of Labor that probably means the intern should be paid. In the end, paying an intern even minimum wage will certainly be cheaper than defending your business in a lawsuit.