Many companies – especially startups – like the idea of using unpaid interns as free labor. This post discusses whether and how a California company can use unpaid interns.
Paid or Unpaid Interns vs. Employees
If individuals are interns under California law (as discussed below), then they need not be paid. Furthermore, they are not subject to other employment protections, because they are not employees.
If, on the other hand, individuals are determined to be employees, then they must be paid at least minimum wage.