Search Fund Accelerator, a Boston private equity firm will pay more than $550,000 in restitution and penalties associated with wage law violations stemming from the improper classification of full-time employees as interns. In the settlement announced by Attorney General Maura T. Healey, the company agreed to make changes to its internship program, and 174 former and current employees will receive between $20 and $13,341, with an average restitution of just over $2,100 per worker.
The investigation into SFA began after an anonymous complaint from an SFA employee. A review of payroll records from July 2015 to May 2017 showed SFA hired more than 180 unpaid interns, compared to 12 known paid employees, according to the AG’s Office. Many of those hired interns worked more than 30 hours a week and regularly performed duties similar to those performed by paid employees. The interns did not receive school credit for their work.