Employing summertime workers can trigger specific laws

Q&A with Courtney Bru

published in The Oklahoman | July 13, 2016

Employment opportunities often increase in the summer, particularly for students and seasonal workers. While the influx of available workers can be a boon for businesses, employers need to be aware of specific laws that may affect some hiring decisions.

In a Business Q&A with The Oklahoman, labor and employment lawyer Courtney Bru addressed federal employment laws specifically applicable to workers under the age of 18, how the hiring of additional workers could possibly impact an employer’s status under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and whether employers are required to pay college students working as summer interns, particularly in instances where the student is gaining valuable experience in a field relevant to his area of study.

Bru explained that while there are certain circumstances under which a summer internship does not qualify as an “employment relationship” under the Fair Labor Standards Act – and, therefore, the business is not obligated to pay the intern – those programs are generally the exception rather than the rule. Programs that do not meet the FLSA’s very strict criteria in this regard are required to comply with federal law and pay both minimum wage and earned overtime.