• Reminder for Employers Who Hire Unpaid Interns or Trainees
  • June 27, 2008
  • Law Firm: Fenwick & West LLP - Office
  • Now that summer is officially here, many employers may be considering hiring unpaid student interns or trainees.  Please remember California's especially strict requirements in this area.

    Generally, for an intern or trainee to be free from the requirements of California's wage and hour laws (including minimum wage), the position must be an essential part of an established course of an accredited school or of an institution approved by the government to provide training for licensure or to qualify for a skilled vocation or profession.  The program: (1) may not be for the benefit of any one employer; (2) a regular employee may not be displaced by the trainee; and (3) the training must be supervised by the school or a disinterested agency.

    If any California employer plans to hire an unpaid intern or trainee, the company should enter into: (1) an agreement with a school which meets the requirements of the law and which indemnifies the company should any legal issues arise about the classification of the intern or trainee; (2) an agreement with the intern or trainee which disclaims any employment relationship; and (3) a nondisclosure agreement with the intern or trainee which prohibits the improper use or disclosure of trade secrets, proprietary and confidential information.

    Employers who hire minors for the summer should also be aware that minors are limited in the number of hours they may work, may only work during specified times, and employers must maintain work permits for minors.