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Texas Unpaid Intern Wage Attorneys

College students and recent graduates often seek internships to further their skill set in a chosen professional field. When there is a mutual agreement of payment and expected number of hours worked per week between the intern and the employer, the intern has a right to receive payment for their time and overtime if they exceed the number of working hours originally agreed upon. While some internships may be unpaid, it is important to note that simply being an intern does not mean that you are ineligible for payment. Many people trying to get their foot in their industry’s door are essentially scammed by this process each and every year and have no idea what their rights are or how they could even go about enforcing them.

For-profit companies function under very strict regulations in regards to internships, so if you feel you may have a claim regarding payment for your time as an intern, you should contact our experienced team of unpaid wage attorneys at the Leichter Law Firm PC today for a consultation. We have helped countless people secure unpaid wages that they are owed throughout the state of Texas, and and we are prepared to help you with your claim as well.

Why You Need an Attorney

Going head-to-head with your employer about fair payment is an intimidating battle, but if you were denied fair compensation as an intern, you should talk to an unpaid wage and overtime lawyer to determine if there is a potential case to reclaim those wages. Too often, we find that employers use interns to complete tasks that should be performed by a paid employee, or may not compensate them adequately for the amount of work they perform. Those in intern roles may feel obligated to go the extra mile to prove their dedication and value to the company for a future job opportunity, and this extra effort can, at times, lead to the intern working more than what they expected upon acceptance of the role. By taking legal action, you may not only be able to reclaim wages that you are rightfully owed, but you may be able to hold your employer accountable for their practices and prevent further exploitation of interns in the future.

Why Choose the Leichter Law Firm PC

We treat each and every one of our cases with the personal attention it deserves. When you give us a call, a member of our qualified legal team will review the details of your case to determine if you are eligible to receive compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act as an intern. Each one of our attorneys is a Board Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist, meaning we have the qualifications and skills necessary to fight for your right to fair treatment and payment. We have the resources to help individuals and groups of employees who feel they have been wronged in the workplace.

Our main employment law office is located in McAllen, TX, and we have satellite offices in Austin and Houston. Although we are located in Texas, we have the resources and experience to fight for the rights of our clients nationwide. You should not have to face mistreatment from your employer alone, so give us a call at (956) 205-0884 right away for a free consultation to review your options.

What Qualifies as an Internship

As of December 19, 2017, the Department has decided to coincide with the court’s process of determining if the intern is a “primary beneficiary” and review each on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, there is are six standards for-profit employers must meet in order to hire an unpaid intern legally, and those are listed below:

  1. The internship must mirror an educational environment, meaning when the intern is performing duties for the job, they must contribute to their working knowledge of the role and the industry as a whole.
  2. The intern is the primary beneficiary of the experience.
  3. Other employees are not replaced by the intern, but rather they are in a supervisory role of the intern and their responsibilities.
  4. The employer doesn’t obtain direct advantages from the intern or their work and maintains the best interest of the intern at all times.
  5. The intern is not guaranteed a position after the internship concludes.
  6. Both the intern and the employer have mutually agreed that no payment is expected throughout the duration of the internship.

If you feel as though any one of these crucial steps were not discussed or honored, speaking to an attorney about your situation is in your best interest. The sooner you make that call, the sooner you could be receiving compensation in the form of back pay. It’s exceedingly difficult to take on these cases alone, so make sure you have a good attorney on your side from the Leichter Law Firm PC.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that you likely have questions about your rights as an intern, so we have provided the answers to a few common questions that we receive about internships. If you don’t see an answer to your question below, contact us at (956) 205-0884 to set up a consultation.

Which employers are required to pay overtime to their interns and employees?

For-profit and private sector employers are usually required to pay their employees and interns, with only certain, specific exceptions. Public employers, non-profits, and other charitable organizations are not required to pay interns by federal law. The intern and the employer should reach a mutual agreement on the payment before the internship begins. Be sure to keep all documents and communication in any professional role so that if you do find yourself in a bind, your attorney can review the details to determine if you have a case.

What is an “at-will” state?

“At-will” means an employer has the right to terminate an employee for any reason, regardless of cause, and the employee has a right to resign for any reason. Generally speaking, this allows both parties to make independent decisions that could result in termination of the working relationship. Employers have the right to change the terms of employment under the “at-will” terms as well, meaning reduced wages, adjustments in personnel, etc.

If you are concerned that you have not been properly compensated for your time, being employed in an “at-will” state can be intimidating because you may feel that the simple act of bringing up the potential violations could result in termination. It’s important to discern the difference however so that you are not subjected to continued mistreatment. Our team can help navigate the details of your case to determine if you are eligible for time and a half compensation to cover your overtime hours.

When should I contact a lawyer?

If you accepted an internship with an employer but were not paid a fair wage or were not compensated for overtime hours worked, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney. While internships may be unpaid in certain circumstances, federal labor laws require payment in most cases, and there is a strict six-part test that the employer must prove and meet to be able to classify the internship as unpaid. If your employer’s internship program does not meet the rules put in place by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you may be eligible to take legal ation to recover fair wages and hold the company accountable for failure to properly compensate you and others in the internship program.

The Impact of an Unpaid Internship

The impact of an unpaid internship that should have been paid can be extremely detrimental to the intern. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, meaning if an intern worked an entire summer, they would earn a little under $3,500 before taxes. This would hardly cover the costs of living for twelve weeks in any large city. The cost of an unpaid internship is high, especially in expensive cities like Austin, Los Angeles, or New York City. When we calculate the cost of living in cities like this versus the amount an intern could be earning from a minimum wage income, one could lose almost $13,000. Studies show that over 60% of interns are paid and the majority of unpaid interns are in the social services industry. Paid or unpaid, statistics continually show that obtaining an internship in college does ease one’s transition into the labor market, but it is important to ensure you are being treated fairly by your employer. Knowing your rights is not only a responsible move for the moment, but it also sets you up for success in the future. The better you are at communicating your income needs, expectations, and standards in the workplace, the more clarity you will have when it comes to your job and responsibilities.

Consult an Unpaid Internship Attorney at the Leichter Law Firm PC Today

As an intern, you may feel like your rights in the workplace are limited. However, you may be eligible to take legal action to recover wages owed to you over the period you dedicated to your employer. Even if your internship is over, it is still possible to find justice. Our legal team has represented Texans for years now, and we feel confident in our ability to claim due compensation for our clients when they have been wronged by their employers.

Don’t wait until it is too late to take action. Call Leichter Law Firm PC today at (956) 205-0884 or chat with us live on our website to schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your unpaid overtime hours as an intern. We look forward to working with you and will fight till the end in the courtroom to ensure you are compensated accurately for the time you committed to this role.