Unpaid Internship Lawsuits

Unpaid Internship Lawsuits Rock Summer Internship Programs

Internship lawsuits are one of the most common issues facing new graduates today. Unpaid internships have long been seen as a benefit to college students, providing an opportunity for them to get a foot in the door and make some good money on the way. Interns are usually offered at very low wages, as well, making the benefits packages look irresistible. But in some cases, interns may not have even been paid for their work, while companies continue to pay their interns through their benefits packages. The lawsuit, then, pitting interns against corporations that do not want to pay their employees, is heating up the debate across the country.

The situation is similar with unpaid internships for college students, which are also offered at extremely low wages.

Many college students take advantage of this and try to turn it into a moneymaking venture, only to find out that the work is very much underpaid. Now, instead of just accepting this fact, people are suing. “We believe the very core of our society is being threatened,” said David R. Suffern, legal counsel of the plaintiffs’ law firm, according to the Associated Press. “If you work for free and don’t receive any compensation, you have the right to hold those employers accountable for their actions.” The plaintiffs in unpaid internship lawsuits have won in the past, in some cases.

For those looking for legal advice on unpaid internship lawsuits, there is quite a bit of advice to offer:

if the company has never been in trouble before for not paying their employees, then the likelihood of them doing so in the future is slim to none. Also, if the company is a very small one with no more than a few employees, they most likely will not be in trouble again. The problem with small businesses is that they are often run on a very tight budget and get by with little more than minimum wage, if any pay at all. Therefore, they have to be really careful when they go through labor relations departments, or they run into trouble from the business owners themselves.

The fair labor standards act requires all employers to give their employees the same wages that they would be entitled to earn in another state, whether they are from another country or from their own state.

In the past, many businesses, particularly the smaller ones, did not bother to abide by this law. Now, however, the courts are making that tougher by putting greater power in the hands of judges. If the company has hired illegal immigrants, or interns who did not have the same rights as other regular employees, then they can be held responsible for their actions.

The new York Times has an article about the pending lawsuit in upstate New York from a group of Hispanic and Asian students who claim that they were illegally discriminated against while working for McKinney College.

One of the accused, or suspected, employers, is Mark Pierakan, owner of three stores in upstate New York. Mr. Pierakan was accused of paying illegal immigrants under the table in order to obtain free labor. This was considered a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was why the Hispanic and Asian students brought the class-action suit against him. Although he has denied the allegations, the court date is still pending.

According to the Daily Herald of Myrtle Beach, “Mark Pierakan, owner of three stores in Upstate New York, has agreed to pay the interns $15 an hour for work they did not produce.

A week later, a settlement was reached. Mark Pierakan will make good on the settlement within a few weeks, according to his attorney. However, he faces an even steeper struggle to prove that he is guilty of having hired illegal immigrants under the table.” This case is just one of several that have been occurring across the country over the past couple of years. Hopefully, the New York Times and the Daily Herald articles are just the tip of the iceberg.

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