Susan Gross Sholinsky Quoted in “How to Have Unpaid Interns and Not Get Sued”

Law360

Susan Gross Sholinsky, a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office, was quoted in an article titled "How to Have Unpaid Interns and Not Get Sued." (Read the full version — subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

In recent years, a wave of class actions have been brought by former unpaid interns who claim that they were actually "employees" under federal state law and are owed minimum and overtime wages — a trend that has raised doubts about whether internship programs remain feasible. ?...

"Companies should make sure they're not getting too much of a benefit from having the intern there," said Susan Gross Sholinsky of Epstein Becker Green. "If anything, the intern should be hindering the process."

Some courts in intern wage cases have looked at whether the company or the intern is the primary beneficiary of the internship relationship, she noted. ?...

Passing the DOL's test depends in part on whether the intern's experience is similar to what a student might get in an educational setting, Gross Sholinsky pointed out.

"What better way to show that than to have their educational institution provide them with credit?" she asked. ?...

"It's important that you don't just take the regular offer letter, delete the the word 'employee' and insert the word 'intern,'" said Gross Sholinsky. ?...

Gross Sholinsky added that the company's outreach materials for employees and interns should be visibly different.

"To the extent that there's any advertising, you have to make sure that its distinct from advertising for entry-level positions," she said. "It should be a completely different process."