Unpaid Internships Revived?: Second Circuit Gives the Green Light to Unpaid Internships So Long as the Intern “Benefits”

July 2015

On July 2, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its highly anticipated decision concerning unpaid internships, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., No. 134478-cv (2d Cir. July 2, 2015). In a victory for employers, the Court adopted a flexible “primary beneficiary” test to determine whether or not a worker is an intern or an employee.

Plaintiffs worked for Fox Searchlight Pictures as interns, performing tasks such as making photocopies, arranging travel and running errands for “Black Swan” Director Darren Aronofsky (including getting him a hypoallergenic pillow, a scented candle, and his favorite tea). Although they often worked eight hours a day, five days a week, the interns received no wages. The district court found that these interns were actually employees entitled to minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL).

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