Employment – Health care worker protection
A doctoral candidate working at an unpaid internship is not an employee protected by Wisconsin’s health care worker protection statute, sec. 146.997
“LIRC’s decision is not contrary to the clear language in WIS. STAT. § 146.997, and is firmly rooted in case law and past LIRC decisions.
LIRC accepted Masri’s argument that she could be considered an employee even without receiving any salary provided she received a tangible benefit from her internship. But LIRC concluded Masri received no tangible benefit. As such, LIRC’s conclusion is reasonable. Futhermore, we agree with LIRC’s conclusion. Office support that simply enabled Masri to perform her duties cannot be considered an independent tangible benefit and the concept of ‘networking opportunities’ is not tangible and is too vague to be compensation. The promise of health insurance, which was never delivered, cannot be viewed as a benefit, especially because Masri continued to perform her internship without it. And the promise to apply for research grant funding did not convey any tangible benefit to Masri because receipt of funding was totally out of MCW’s control. Because Masri has not shown that her conclusion that she was an employee is more reasonable than LIRC’s, we are compelled to affirm.”
Recommended for publication in the official reports.
2012AP1047 Masri v. LIRC
Dist. I, Milwaukee County, Pocan, J., Brennan, J.