My friend (university student) was supposed to work with a businessman/lawyer for her internship this year, and before any contract was signed, she worked ~40 hours for him. He promised they would work out a contract, but for various reasons, she didn't want to work with him anymore, and decided to not sign a contract after all.

She received no compensation for the hours she already worked, even though he called her at unreasonable times and she went to great lengths to always be available. To me, this seems like a (very wealthy and successful) businessman exploited a young and naive student to do some boring work for him.

Do you think there is any way for her to get compensated for the hours she worked? I realise that it's hard to give a proper answer without more details, but I guess I just want to know if this is already a lost case, or if there is anything I can do to help.

  • This happened in France, and there are some texts/calls detailing the times she worked, in addition to the work she produced for him.
  • This question is similar, but the type of work is different (no colleagues, except the boss' business partners), and the answer relied on particulars of English law.
  • 5
    She should contact her university and ask for their help/direction.
    – PeteCon
    Mar 10, 2020 at 3:19
  • If in doubt, contact a lawyer. But as PeteCon mentioned, the University would also be a good contact point
    – Shadowzee
    Mar 10, 2020 at 3:29
  • 1
    Consider that the excellent reference he'll probably give (he got a bunch of work for free, after all) may be more valuable in the long run that the pay. Or it might not, you should judge that for yourself.
    – toady_two
    Mar 10, 2020 at 9:03
  • One thing is not clear for me. Who ended the relationship? Did your friend stop going to work? Is she still working but has not been paid yet? Did her employer terminate the internship?
    – JayZ
    Mar 10, 2020 at 9:23
  • @JayZ whoever ended it, the time worked has to be paid for unless both sides agreed otherwise.
    – Aida Paul
    Mar 10, 2020 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


She could contact the Conseil de prud’hommes which is the French labour court.

They will be able to advise on all aspects of this situation.

Even saying to them that you are going to contact the prud’hommes can cause them to pay...

  • Any idea whats up with the downvotes here and in the question?
    – Mars
    Mar 10, 2020 at 6:47
  • 2
    @Mars no idea - some must lack the keyboard skills to provide helpful comments and limit themselves to downvotes...
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 10, 2020 at 6:51
  • Well, you got +1 from me, but I feel the reason for downvotes may lack of explanation why would you skip going through the Uni altogether.
    – Aida Paul
    Mar 10, 2020 at 8:42
  • 1
    My impression recently has been that there are a few folks around who are downvoting every single question and answer, indiscriminately. Perhaps the same folks responsible for the trolling. Mar 10, 2020 at 14:31

Solar Mike has a good solution if she wants to pursue the matter

However, this stands out

but for various reasons, she didn't want to work with him

She can make some waves or she can learn from the experience. In my opinion it's better to live with your decisions repercussions. The other option will make you at least one enemy at the start of your career and from the sound of him he may be pretty well connected and have a totally different idea of what transpired.

Getting a reputation as a problematic employee even before you join the workforce isn't a great idea, however unfair that may seem.

  • Work is work and a contract is a contract, even if it was agreed orally.
    – Cris
    Mar 11, 2020 at 12:47
  • @Cris so what is your point?
    – Kilisi
    Mar 12, 2020 at 3:06

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