I work as an unpaid intern. Is that legal for my employer to not pay me?

San Francisco Employment Attorney, Traci Hinden, explains how government agencies and externships can have unpaid interns.

Contact Traci Hinden

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (415) 781-3030


It depends. So if you are working while you’re in school and you’re getting school credit, then that’s called an externship and that is usually allowed. There is also an exception for government agencies. They don’t have to pay. It’s some sort of trade, but otherwise, in the private sector, it could be illegal. As you know, we’re seeing a trend of this. Conde Nast just got hit with a class action for this and so far the companies – we really see it in the entertainment industry the most.