internships without pay a bad idea

All of us took internships in college. Many of us took internships without pay. Here’s an article from the Houston Chronicle that cautions us against trying to use unpaid interns like real employees.

Internships without pay have pitfalls for employers
— Houston Chronicle2

Summer interns are ripe for exploitation.

They’re desperate for real-life experience to help them land a permanent job, at a time when the economy is slowing and positions are scarce. Many are willing to work for free or below market rates, just to get a foot in the door.

But that doesn’t mean employers should do that.

“It’s very tempting to try to come up with unique ways to get more out of your company, but the way to do it is not to bring in people who are unpaid,” said Jay Zweig, a labor lawyer at Bryan Cave in Phoenix. “An internship, to be unpaid and legal, needs primarily to be a learning experience for the intern and not something where the intern is expected to produce work product that is going to benefit the employer.”

“All it takes is one disgruntled intern, or their parent or spouse or friend, to call the U.S. Department of Labor, and the company who follows this type of exploitative advice is toast,” Zweig said.

[snip]

Footnotes
2 = article may expire in a few weeks.

Author: Paloma Cruz

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