March 5, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
San Jose, CA – A leading Silicon Valley venture-capital firm has agreed to pay more than $330,000 in back wages and damages to 56 interns. The U.S. Department of Labor announced Feb. 22 that Fenox Venture Capital, based in San Jose, had illegally used interns to screen investment opportunities and translate a book into Japanese without paying them.
Federal law says interns can work for free only if they are receiving training, not if they are doing work that brings the company value. “The department is outraged that young people are being taken advantage of and being forced to work for free,” said Michael Eastwood, assistant district director of its Wage and Hour Division for the San Francisco area. He said it was the first wage theft-case brought against a venture-capital firm in the Bay Area. The interns worked at Fenox from 2011 to 2014, he added. Read more