In almost all circumstances, unpaid internships in Ohio violate federal wage and hour laws. Unpaid internships in Ohio are typically unlawful because these often violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA is the federal law regulating payment of wages in the United States. In order for an unpaid internship in Ohio to be exempt from the requirements of the FLSA, each of the following six criteria must be met:
- The internship must be similar to training which would be given in an educational environment, even though it may be conducted at the workplace.
- The internship experience is primarily for the benefit of the intern – not the employer. And the intern should acquire skills which can be used in multiple settings, not just at the employer's workplace.
- The intern's work is not work which would normally be done by paid employees.
- The employer does not derive an immediate advantage from the intern's work, and indeed, is sometimes worse off for having the intern.
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job after the internship, i.e. the internship may not be used as a trial or probationary period. It must be an internship, not a tryout.
- Both the intern and the employer are clear that the intern is not going to be paid.
The United States Department of Labor has issued a Fact Sheet to provide some guidance on how internships are analyzed under the FLSA.
If you have questions, please contact us. In 2015, Granovsky & Sundaresh has expanded to service the great State of Ohio.