marvelMarvel Entertainment has been sued by an unpaid intern on behalf of a class-action for failure to pay minimum wages. the lawsuit is then brought in Pennsylvania, by Kenneth Jackson, who alleges that for a four-month period of time, he was incorrectly classified as an intern by Marvel Entertainment, who he asserts owes him back pay.

In California, unpaid interns that are incorrectly classified as interns, when they are actually performing the duties of an employee, must be paid wages. Failure to pay employees wages can constitute violations of California’s wage and hour laws .  The question of whether an individual is an intern or an employee depends on various factors including but not limited to: a) whether the tasks assigned or traditional employee tasks or more similar to classroom/training experiences; b) how the internist supervise and whether the supervision is more educational in nature or similar to employee supervision; c) the type of work assigned, and whether the “intern” performs tasks that are menial in nature such as filing, mailings, answering phones, and serving as a receptionist that are primarily for the benefit of the employer and not the intern; d) whether the internship is ongoing or follows a summer/semester/quarter track; e) the intern’s course of study, and whether the internship actually benefits the intern; and f) whether there is an expectation that a job opportunity will be awaiting them after completion of the training or their schooling. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has in the past set forth five (5) additional factors that help determine whether an unpaid internship violates California labor laws:

  • Any internship should be part of an “educational curriculum”;
  • The interns should not receive “employee benefits”;
  • The training received by interns should be general “so as to qualify the [interns] for work in any similar business, rather than designed specifically for a job with the employer offering the program”;
  • The screening process for interns should be based on “criteria relevant for admission into an independent educational program”; and
  • Advertisements or postings for internships should clearly describe the positions as educational or training-based rather than as employment.


Axis Legal Counsel represents clients who have not been correctly classified, or have suffered the unlawful deprivation of wages arising out of violations of federal and state labor laws, including California’s wage and hour laws.  For information on retaining Axis Legal Counsel to represent you with respect to any wage, hour, or labor law matter, including misclassified unpaid internships, contact or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation.