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What Legal Steps Do I Need To Take When Employing Interns?

Employing Interns

Legal Advice For Employing Interns.

Steven Eckett, Partner and Head of Employment Law at Meaby&Co Solicitors has produced a five step check list for employers to help protect interns from harassment.

This check list aims to create best practice for employers to ensure interns can work in a safe environment and to give legal protections to employers.

Mr Eckett said: ‘Too often interns (some of whom are for the first time venturing into the workplace) are treated differently to other employees and their employment rights are overlooked or not taken as seriously.

‘This can not only be detrimental to the intern but can place the employer in a vulnerable legal position that can leave them open to potential litigation.

‘A few updates to existing HR policies and some extra induction steps offers both the interns and employers vital protection.

‘It’s really important that firms don’t make the mistake of treating interns like second class citizens when it comes to employment rights.’

Five Steps Employers Should Take When Hiring Interns.

  1. HR should adopt appropriate training specifically for staff members who will be managing or working alongside interns prior to the intern commencing the internship. 
  2. Employers needs to ensure that they have an anti-retaliation policy in place which protects an intern who has reported harassment from being retaliated against from other employees in the organisation. 
  3. Anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies should be accessible to interns from the outset of their internship usually in a staff handbook. It should be clear what actions an intern should take when they experience, see, or find out about harassment. 
  4. HR teams may also consider ensuring there are multiple ways to report harassment by an intern. An intern may wish to report in confidence or bypass specific individuals, especially those who are the cause of the harassment therefore, allowing multiple and flexible ways to report an issue may assist in doing this. It should also be open to an intern to raise a formal grievance. Alternatively, the employer can decide to treat a complaint as a grievance. 
  5. An effective induction programme for interns to allow them to understand how and to whom they should report any harassment related matters should be implemented.


The highly respected Human Resources Journal, HR Grapevine, recently interviewed Mr Eckett for his expert legal opinion on hiring interns. The full article can be read here: https://www.hrgrapevine.com/content/article/2020-07-28-how-can-hr-protect-interns

If you have an employment query please do not hesitate to contact us. We can give a free, no-obligation quote and advise you how best we can help you.

Contact us on 0207 7035034 or email us at info@meaby.co.uk.

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