Private sector employers planning internship programs should be aware of the legal distinctions between unpaid interns and paid employees. A number of recent class actions filed against media and entertainment companies, accusing them of misclassifying unpaid interns in order to reduce production costs, has led to a heightened scrutiny of internship programs. Simply labeling an employment relationship as an unpaid internship does not necessarily create an exemption from legal obligations to pay compensation for services performed.

For additional information, read our recent GT Alert, Intern or Employee? Unpaid Internships May End Up Costing Employers.

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Photo of Terry McCourt Terry McCourt

Terence P. McCourt is Co-Managing Shareholder of the Boston office and Chairman of its Labor & Employment Practice. He also co-chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Labor-Management Relations group. He represents a broad range of organizations in all facets of management-side labor

Terence P. McCourt is Co-Managing Shareholder of the Boston office and Chairman of its Labor & Employment Practice. He also co-chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Labor-Management Relations group. He represents a broad range of organizations in all facets of management-side labor and employment law. During more than two decades of practice, Terry has gained a national reputation for his practical, strategic approach to employment law issues.

With wide-ranging litigation experience, Terry handles diverse employment matters, including employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases in state and federal courts, wage and hour compliance, labor arbitration cases, non-competition cases, internal corporate investigations, and National Labor Relations Board proceedings. He also counsels employers concerning day-to-day human resources issues as well as myriad legal requirements in the workplace, particularly related to significant operational changes such as mergers, acquisitions, business relocations or reductions in force.

Terry has wide-ranging governmental experience as the former Deputy Chief Legal Counsel to the Governor of Massachusetts and General Counsel to the Massachusetts Secretary of Labor.