At previous jobs, we have had a small number of interns (compared to the overall engineering staff), and they were all paid hourly. At my current job, however, the engineering staff is 1/3 interns, and they are paid a weekly salary, while being expected to put in about 80 hours per week.
Is this normal? It feels to me like these guys are getting shortchanged, and in addition to the moral implications, it would open a big liability for lawsuits, etc. I thought only 'professionals' could be exempt from overtime regulations, and an intern (being still in school, and lacking a degree) would not be able to be a 'professional'.
We do have them working on production code, and they have a wide degree of freedom/decision-making ability to get the job done.
This is my first 'startup' job, so maybe I am just naive to they way things work in a smaller company? Or am I right to question this?
If it makes any difference, my company is in San Francisco.