Is it Against the Law to Use Unpaid, Non-Student Interns?

march 1, 2007  01:24 pm
It is in California, according to Stephanie Barrett of the state's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. "If you're not a student getting [academic] credit, you're not a true intern," she tells SF Weekly. "You're an employee and you should be paid like one." The unpaid internship has become standard practice in California, with SF Weekly reporting that San Francisco, 7x7, Diablo, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian all use them, with other publications like Dwell, Benefit and Yoga Journal offering below-minimum-wage stipends. The Bay Guardian's Editor and Publisher Bruce Brugmann denies his paper is violating labor law, saying it conforms to labor standards as interpreted by the California Newspaper Publishers Association -- and that it is helping budding writers to boot. "We're helping young people by giving them vocational training from expert editors and reporters," he says. "It's a wonderful opportunity for them."