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Subject: Insurance and legal issues for pre-program internships

Insurance and legal issues for pre-program internships

From: Sarah Lowengard <sarahl<-a>
Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I am currently leading the AIC Online Education course on business
risk for professional conservation practices ("Mitigating Risk:
Contracts and Insurance for Conservation").

In a discussion about worker's compensation insurance, one course
participant noted that in her state worker's compensation rates are
based on the worker's salary. How then, do you ensure your unpaid
interns are covered?

I assume that

    (1) interns enrolled in graduate conservation programs are
    covered to some extent through their university.

    (2) this is not a significant problem for not-for-profit
    institutions that include education as their mission.

But I  gather that any for-profit institution that takes pre-program
interns (or interns who are not yet accepted into a program) faces a
host of federal labor laws in addition to the worker's comp issues.
I--and the course participants--would be interested to know how
others have addressed or resolved the issues these raise. I believe
that insurance, right-to-work laws, and tolerance for lawsuits may
make this a uniquely US problem, but I would be interested in
hearing from people in private practice in the EU and elsewhere to
learn how you perceive the underlying issues.

Reply to me privately if you prefer; I will summarize the answers in
a later post if I receive more than three replies.

I may highlight this topic in the next AIC Online Education course,
"Professional Responsibility" (the Ethics course), which will start
11 September, 2008.

Sarah Lowengard
New York, NY


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Received on Tuesday, 12 August, 2008

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