Unpaid Internship Procedure
In an effort to comply with US Labor Law, our practice is to post unpaid internships only if they seem likely to qualify for academic credit at the College. Two exceptions are government and nonprofit organizations; unpaid internships are legal without academic credit in government and nonprofit organizations (religious, charitable, etc.) because volunteering is more normative in those settings.
“Employment,” as defined under the FLSA, means to “permit” someone to work in an organization. Employment brings with it the right to the protections of the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor issued Fact Sheet #71, which sought to lay out some ground rules regarding the use of unpaid internships under the FLSA.
FLSA applies to all organizations engaged in commerce. FLSA severely restricts an employer’s ability to use unpaid interns (or “trainees”, as FLSA calls them). In other words, employers must pay a wage to workers unless the interns qualify as “trainees”. The U.S. Department of Labor has outlined the below six criteria for determining “trainee” status. The answer must be [yes] for all six criteria in order for an unpaid internship to be legal:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
The focus of these rules is on training and education: that the internship must be primarily for the benefit of the intern and not the employer. The more directly related an intern’s tasks are to those that might otherwise be performed by staff, the more likely that the intern will be considered an “employee” under the Act and entitled to compensation.
In some cases, unpaid interns do receive some type of remuneration, in the form of a stipend, expenses, benefits, commissions, or nominal fees for participating in the program. These kinds of payments do not necessarily turn the intern into an employee for FLSA purposes, but they do cloud the issue, and an amount that looks as if it is disguised compensation could result in the person being deemed an employee subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements. Therefore, the College’s Procedure is to reject these types of unpaid Internship positions if they seem unlikely contenders for academic credit.
The amount of the payments needs to be looked at in the context of economic realities to determine whether the payment reflects disguised compensation. Also, organizations following this route need to beware that an EEOC Advisory Letter released in early 2012 suggests that such interns may be considered employees for EEO purposes, both for determining coverage under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as for providing remedial relief to an aggrieved intern.
Because students should generally receive academic credit for unpaid internships, students need to work with a faculty advisor in their area of study who assists in developing learning objectives, assigning and grading projects related to the work experience, and awards credit.
Employers are recommended to provide coverage under their workers compensation policy for unpaid interns.
The College does not assume responsibility for health/accident insurance, housing, transportation or any injuries suffered or sustained by a student while the student is on the employer’s premises and/or performing services as an intern.
Interns are subject to the College’ Student Conduct Code Policy.
The organization is required to take time to advise interns of appropriate workplace behavior, the organization’s harassment policy and complaint procedures.
All employers, past or present, who offer unpaid positions to the College’s students is bound by this procedure.
All employers, who offer unpaid positions to a College student must sign an Unpaid Internship Employer Acknowledgement Form. The Student must also sign the Form prior to the commencement of the internship (See attached Unpaid Internship For-Profit Employer Acknowledgment Form).
Career Center and Cuyahoga Community College adhere to EEO guidelines and offer employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship, or identity as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era unless legally required. Furthermore, in good faith, Career Center works only with those employers who subscribe to EEO guidelines. In addition, Career Center abides by the principles set forth by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which can be found at: http://www.naceweb.org/principles/default.htm
The policy of Career Center is to educate students, alumni, community job seekers, faculty, and staff regarding a wide variety of job search strategies, including third party employment services. Individuals can then determine whether utilizing these services will be of benefit to them. Career Center does not investigate, endorse, or recommend any third party employment services.
Definition of third party recruiter: According to NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, third-party recruiters are defined as agencies, organizations, or individuals recruiting candidates for temporary, part-time or full-time employment opportunities other than for their own needs. This definition includes, but is not limited to, employment agencies, search firms, contract recruiters, and resume referral firms.
Career Center Cuyahoga Community College Recruiting Policy & Disclaimer, Cont’d
Third Party Recruiter Services:
Third party recruiters who are hiring for positions within their own organization may be granted on-campus recruiting privileges (excluding online resume search).
Third-party recruiters who are hiring for positions outside their own organization may have positions posted (excluding online resume search) provided that upon request of a Career Center staff member, they provide the name of the clients they represent within the job descriptions. Career Center reserves the right to verify this information.
Temporary Agencies or Staffing Services:
Temporary agencies or staffing services are employers, not third-party recruiters, and will be expected to comply with the professional practice principles set forth for employer professionals. These are organizations that contract to provide individuals qualified to perform specific tasks or complete specific projects for a client organization. Individuals perform work at the client organization, but are employed and paid by the agency.
By participating in these services, organizations agree that they will adhere to EEO standards in all recruiting activities, that no fee will be charged to any candidate at any time, and that organizations will not disclose student information under any circumstances to other entities without the student's prior written consent.
All positions that would employ students for a private individual (i.e. babysitter, tutor, caretaker, etc.) or at a personal residence. Jobs and internships that are compensated only by commission.
All positions that require a fee payment prior to employment (entrepreneurial employers).
Career Center defines entrepreneurial employers as those organizations that require the job seeker to make an initial financial investment or fee payment as a condition of employment. Entrepreneurial employers also include those organizations that provide financial incentives to staff who recruit new hires for the organization and for which the recruiting staff member receives a portion of the new hire's commission. Furthermore, entrepreneurial employers will not be provided with any online or on-campus recruiting services through Career Center at Cuyahoga Community College.
Career Center adheres to the aforementioned policies and guidelines to ensure the quality of our services and reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions at any time.
Upcoming Events & Programs
About Our Services
Our online Employer Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You must register your organization with our office prior to accessing these services. Once your registration is reviewed, if it is approved you will receive an email which includes a link to activate your account.
If approved, depending on your access level, you will be able to use some or all of the services listed below:
- Job Posting
Post jobs targeted to Cuyahoga Community College students, alumni, community residents.
- Résumé Search
Search résumés of our students, alumni, community residents. When searching for alumni, your results may include community residents.
- Portfolio Search
Search career portfolios that have been prepared by our students, alumni, community residents.
- On-Campus Interviewing
In addition to posting on our Job Board, you may also post positions that involve on-campus interviews. An interview date will be scheduled after we review and approve your posting. You may then log in to check submissions, candidate status and schedules. On-campus interviews occur during specific times of the year. If you do not know our recruiting schedule, please contact us before posting your job.
- Partner with the Career Center to:
- Promote your employment openings
- Source future employees for experiential learning opportunities (e.g. co-ops and internships)
- Participate in job fair and on-campus recruiting events
- Serve on an advisory board committee
- Provide your expertise on an employer panel or mock interview