Risk-Proof Your Internship Hiring: Harness Internship Power, Dodge Lawsuits!

Launching an internship program presents a fantastic chance for your company to harness the skills and creativity of talented individuals. But, it’s important to remember that along with this opportunity come some potential legal risks. These risks could snowball into a costly lawsuit if not managed with care. Whether you opt for paid or unpaid internships, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework that oversees such programs to avoid any legal pitfalls.

Failing to navigate these regulations carefully might leave your business vulnerable to legal consequences. To make the most of interns while ensuring your business stays on the right side of the law, it’s essential to navigate these regulations carefully.

The Benefits of Starting an Internship Program

When you hire an intern, you gain assistance with tasks you and your employees can’t complete on your own. Additionally, you receive a fresh outsider’s perspective of your company. The best interns bring an enthusiastic attitude that can invigorate your entire team. 

Instead of hiring unfamiliar talent, you may transition your top interns into paid positions once their internship “trial period” is over. This can save you valuable time and resources on training since the interns will already know what you expect from them.

Compensating Your Interns

Paid Interns: 

Compensating interns is where the most risk exists, and it’s an issue you should not approach without guidance. If your interns are paid, you must follow wage and hour rules and compensate them at least the minimum wage and overtime for weeks they work more than 40 hours. 

Unpaid Interns: 

Hiring unpaid interns is also an option; however, if you choose to take on an unpaid intern, the laws are a lot more complicated. To avoid legal action, an unpaid internship must meet the following six criteria as established by the Fair Labor Standards Act:

✔️ The internship, even though it includes the actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment.

✔️ The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.

✔️ The intern does not displace regular employees but works under the close supervision of existing staff.

✔️ The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded.

✔️ The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job after the internship.

✔️ The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Intern Retention Best Practices

✔️ Onboarding: Introduce interns to the company’s culture, values, and mission through an orientation program. This helps interns feel a sense of belonging.

✔️ Mentorship: Pair interns with experienced professionals to help them navigate the professional world and feel more connected to the organization.

✔️ Real-world Experience: Give interns meaningful projects that contribute to the company, which can help them feel a sense of purpose.

✔️ Set Goals: Set clear goals for the internship early on so interns know what’s expected of them and can avoid frustration or conflict.

✔️ Feedback: Provide feedback to interns to keep an open communication channel and help them learn what they can improve on.

✔️ Keep in Touch: Send emails or text messages to interns to keep the conversation going and share company information.

Don’t Risk It, Act Now!

Launching an internship program can be a game-changer for your company, but it’s crucial to navigate the legal landscape with precision to avoid potential pitfalls. The costs of a lawsuit far outweigh the benefits of not seeking proper legal guidance. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your business.

Take action now to safeguard your company from costly lawsuits and ensure a successful internship program that benefits both your business and your interns.  Schedule your call with our expert attorneys today and embark on a journey of success, free from legal worries.

☎️ Give us a call 818-949-8029 

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