“Back in the day” – this phrase causes my 17-year-old daughter to roll her eyes, assume the “I don’t want to hear this” pose, and begin scrolling through the songs on her iPhone. Anyway, back in the day when I was in college, unpaid internships were plentiful and filled with hours of filing, running to the bank and post office, and other mundane tasks. As an immediate reward, I received a glowing reference letter which I proudly included with dozens, if not hundreds of job applications. Looking back I now realize there were a number of rewards; valuable life lessons like the importance of personal and professional responsibility, teamwork, independence, time and task management, interpersonal communication skills, and especially humility.
If you currently have, or are considering an unpaid internship program, a complete understanding of the federal requirements, as well as any requirements imposed by the states where the interns are located, is vital for compliance and the overall success of the program. My goal for this article is to provide information on some of the more difficult and restrictive regulatory requirements.
On July 7, 2014, Governor Cuomo publicly signed the Compassionate Care Act (the “Act”) (officially signed on July 5, 2014, following weeks of closed-door negotiations between the Governor and a number of legislators) legalizing limited use of medical marijuana in New York State. Because I hadn’t seen or heard much about this important legislation, I was interested to know how many clients, attorneys, and friends missed the news on this one. Based on my extremely unscientific poll, only about 25 percent of those contacted knew anything about the Compassionate Care Act. [Note: For the purposes of this article, I am focusing on areas of the Act that may have the greatest impact on the employment relationship. For a more comprehensive understanding, you may view the entire law by visiting the New York Assembly webpage and search for bill A06357.]
The Compassionate Care Act makes New York the 23rd state to enact a medical marijuana law. However, this is not your typical, “Dr. dude…give me a prescription so I can light up” law. In fact, many are calling it one of the most complex and restrictive medical marijuana laws in the nation. From the start it’s clear this law will have much broader implications for employers, and their covered employees, than merely legalizing a substance for the treatment of specific medical conditions.Continue reading