In January of 2015, an unpaid intern sued one of the nation's largest TV networks. She sought damages for unpaid wages.
The intern was expected to "perform various tasks," including writing articles, cutting and editing radio features, and creating online content. She claimed the station would have had to hire employees to fulfill the same duties she performed. Additionally, the intern claimed she received no academic benefit. The outcome has yet to be determined. More than likely it will be settled. But cases like these are popping up nationwide.
So what does a TV network labor dispute have to do with a church? TV networks and churches are governed by the same set of rules for internships. We can learn a lot from a case like this and how to prevent a similar claim against your church in the future.
Many churches, ministries, and charities rely upon volunteers and independent contractors, and increasingly unpaid interns, in order to realize the economic benefits of not having to pay the wages, benefits, and taxes that traditional employees receive (see Table 1-3).