Judge Rules Unpaid Interns Are Not a Class

Our office is located in State College, Pennsylvania—a college town—just down the street from Penn State University.

There are many interns working in businesses nearby, as well as across the state.

As a business and employment law attorney in State College, I thought nearby businesses should know about a recent article from ABC News that details the decision of a judge concerning summer interns.

In May, a group of unpaid interns sued Hearst Corp., claiming they did the same work as full-time employees and were therefore entitled to the same protections under state and federal labor laws.

However, a setback came for the interns when a New York judge dismissed their class-action suit against Hearst, saying that they don’t meet the definition of a class. If the interns want to sue, they cannot do so collectively; they must file lawsuits as individuals.

This isn’t good news for interns. Many might find class action suits attractive because of the aggregate wages, while the individual cases are likely worth—at most—a few thousand dollars each.

Hearst argued that the applicable law here was a 1947 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that “trainees” who work for free during a program of instruction are not, for the purposes of federal labor law, employees.

The judge agreed with Hearst’s argument.

If you are an intern who has questions about your rights in the workplace, contact an experienced employment law attorney in State College, Pennsylvania today.

If you are an employer and would like to know more about how to rightly go about hiring interns, contact The Mazza Law Group, P.C. today for guidance.

Judge Rules Unpaid Interns Are Not a Class was last modified: September 23rd, 2015 by Steven Trialonas