California is home to a burgeoning nontraditional workforce. The state’s laws and regulations recognize many types of engagements beyond the traditional employer-employee relationship, so long as the rules and regulations that establish and maintain these arrangements are respected. This program will examine just how companies and nontraditional workers get the job done, while remaining compliant

This post was written by Cindy S. Minniti and Mark S. Goldstein.

With summer right around the corner, many high school and college students are preparing to begin unpaid internship programs at companies across the country. Such programs have long been considered a staple for U.S. businesses, as well as a valuable option for students seeking opportunities that will offer them real-world experience while opening doors in their sought-after career fields. But in recent years, these internship programs have come under intense scrutiny and fierce legal attack. Indeed, employers in a broad swath of industries have faced a veritable flood of class and collective actions challenging the legality of their unpaid internship programs.

Propelled by a continuously aggressive plaintiffs’ bar, these suits have attempted to hold companies liable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and parallel state laws under the theory that the sponsoring employers are unlawfully withholding minimum wage and overtime pay from their interns, while reaping the benefits of their “free” labor. Victory for the intern-plaintiffs in these suits means not only back pay with interest, but also hefty attorneys’ fees. Indeed, these suits have become so costly to defend that several high-profile companies have elected to discontinue their internship programs altogether.

So, with intern “season” upon us, let’s review whether your company’s internship program is compliant with applicable wage and hour laws, and, if not, what you can do to bring the program into compliance..Continue Reading Arrival of Intern Season Means Prep Work For Employers is Key