One night when I was a child I was sitting upstairs watching tv. My parents were out for the night. It was just me and my big sister. All was calm when from the basement we heard a loud crashing sound. I jumped. My heart was pounding and my mind immediately went to the worst case scenario. I thought someone had broken into our house. We quickly went out the back door and to our neighbor’s house who came back with us to the home to check out what had happened. It turned out that a heating duct had come loose and crashed to the floor. Nothing doing.
If you’re like most people, you have thousands of photos, songs, and files on your phone, on your computer, in the cloud, and on social media. If you’re a business owner, then your digital assets include customer lists, financial information, client files, designs, and so much more.
Picture a room of 40 people on stationary bikes raised on tiers, looking down at a lead instructor stadium style. The normal lights are dim but colored lighting responds to the changing rhythms of the electric, pounding music as the instructor on the forward bike prepares the sweating, shining backs for one last virtual uphill climb.
The first thing you should do when you receive a letter from the EEOC or the Alaska Human Rights Commission is don’t panic. Last year they received 454 complaints of which 334 were closed because of a lack of substantial evidence, another 38 were closed for administrative reasons, 28 were mediated, 32 were settled, and 22 went to a hearing and only two of those cases found for the employee. In the few cases with a penalty, most incurred a penalty of a few thousand dollars, a handful were above $10,000 and a couple reached $75,000. Some of these cases included a requirement for anti-discrimination training, changing advertising materials, and updating non-discrimination policies. Finally, the employee has 180 days to file a complaint, which is short timeframe.
It sounds so good. You have someone who wants to work for free just to get their foot in the door. Or they just want to help out. But, there’s this thing called the minimum wage. If someone is doing something that you would otherwise pay someone to do, then you have to pay them at least the minimum wage. If the person is there to just learn or to shadow someone and they don’t add any value to your company by getting a job done, then they can be an unpaid intern. If you are a non-profit, then the person can volunteer their time. But things are not always so clear. This article in Fast Company provides a good overview of the current state of the law on interns and volunteers.