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Thinking About Hiring an Intern in Illinois?

Internships are a hot topic in business law at the moment. Recent lawsuits against Fox Searchlight Pictures, Condé Nast and Madison Square Garden have brought the role of unpaid internships into the national spotlight. The suits contain allegations of unpaid wages, poor work conditions and unfair treatment, causing businesses across the nation to reevaluate their internship programs as well as the best options they have moving forward.

While internships offer valuable work opportunities for both the intern and the company, they require just as much diligence and forethought as hiring a regular employee. If you are considering starting an internship program or seeking to revise your company’s current internships, a Hoffman Estates lawyer can provide valuable legal counsel.

Illinois Internship Laws

All internships are subject to employment laws, even if the position is unpaid. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) stipulates that all persons working for a company must be compensated for their time and services. However, there are allowances for an intern to work unpaid if your business meets certain pieces of criteria. The Department of Labor stipulates that internships must adhere to the following regulations:

  • The internship must contain some form of education or training. 
  • The intern must experience some kind of benefit. 
  • Regular employees or contractors cannot be displaced by the work of the intern. 
  • The company cannot derive any kind of immediate benefit or advantage from the intern – meaning that a company cannot take on unpaid interns to make up for a gap in labor or production.
  • The intern does not have to be guaranteed a job at the conclusion of the position. 
  • There is a mutual understanding that the intern is not entitled to wages – however, interns can be compensated for their time if the company so chooses.

If your company’s internship follows these criteria, then the position is exempt from the FLSA, and you are not obligated to compensate the intern monetarily for their time.

Internship programs are often educational for both the intern and the company. However, businesses must administer and operate internships correctly to avoid the threat of litigation. Your Hoffman Estates lawyer can work with your company to ensure that your internship program is both beneficial and legally sound.

Keep Your Business Safe

Industries of all kinds are beginning to undergo greater scrutiny over how they handle internships. Protect your business by having our Hoffman Estates lawyer review how your company handles internships. Contact our office online, or give us a call at 847-310-0025.

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