Intern or Employee?
Intern or Employee?
What to do to make internships blessings—and not legal blind spots.

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).

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: October 20, 2015
View All
from our store
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.
Managing the Legal Risks of Lay Counseling

Managing the Legal Risks of Lay Counseling

Develop specific policies and procedures that protect your church, lay caregivers, and those who receive care.
Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability

What these documents do—and don't do—based on statutes and court decisions made nationwide.
Your Guide To Employee Handbooks

Your Guide To Employee Handbooks

If updated regularly, an employee handbook can offer valuable legal protection against civil court claims made by disgruntled staff members.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.