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Employment Law/unpaid training in florida


Hello, I am hoping you can answer a question for me regarding unpaid training in Florida. A large insurance company has hired a friend of mine and is requiring 6 day a week training, 8-10 hour days. From what I have read this company appears to meet the requirements to allow unpaid training with the exception of requiring the trainees to book appointments for them on the phones and door to door as part of their training. The program is over a month long and the actual job is commission only when they have finished.

While I realize the company is not being ethical I am unsure if they are actually violating any laws. Is there a law to protect potential employees from having to work for free in this situation?

Thank you


It appears as if you may already have looked up the DOL's six-part test for determining whether pre-employment training is compensable as "work time" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.)  However, just for the sake of discussion, I'm pasting them here.  In order to be lawfully unpaid, pre-employment training must meet all six of these requirements.

1.The training, even though it includes actual operation of the employer's facilities, is similar to training that would be given in a vocational school (this means the training is "fungible," or interchangeable, and can be used by the employee in another position with another employer);

2.The training is for the benefit of the trainee;

3.The trainees do not displace regular employees but work under close observation;

4.The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the trainees'' activities and at least on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded;

5.The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period; and

6.Both the employer and the trainees have an understanding that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.


In most cases, items 2 and 4 present the real problems.  Based on what you said about the trainees making appointments, etc., it seems possible that the employer has a problem with these factors.  However, as with all FLSA analysis, it depends on all of the relevant facts, which we don't know now.  For example, if the appointments being made are just simulated business for the purpose of the training, then the employer is not likely to be gaining any economic advantage from the activity.  But if they are making real business appointments and/or engaging in any real sales with customers, the outcome is probably the opposite.

If you can find out some more, or if other facts you already know, lead you to believe there is a probable violation here, then I would encourage your friend to contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor and make a complaint.

The locations and contact information for all of the WHD offices can be found on this page:

I hope this is helpful to you and your friend.

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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