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Federal Government Cracks Down On Illegal Internships

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Employers of commercial businesses beware!

It’s against federal law to take on an intern without them getting school credit or payment.

We may be seeing an increase in enforcement of the law that’s been on the books for some time following a recent federal law suit in New York.

Unpaid internships at “for profit” businesses violate wage and hour laws.

A person would have to be getting school credit not to be paid.

Workers at non profits and government agencies are exempt from the law.

Rick Grimaldi is a partner at employment law firm Fisher & Phillips in Radnor.

He says the recent lawsuit against a film company and unpaid internships will most likely have an impact across the nation.

Grimaldi says, “we’ll see more and more lawsuits growing out of this and as the government starts to pay attention to these sorts of things they’ll enforce it the way they enforce all of the other wage and hour laws which is they’ll investigate companies either randomly or if they receive a complaint and then they’ll come in and they’ll take a look at what the programs are and they’ll make a determination whether in fact if it’s a valid internship or on ethat violates the wage and hour laws.”

Grimaldi says many young people offer to work for free to get their feet wet to build a resume in a business or industry.

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