The Second Circuit’s New Approach in Determining When Unpaid Interns are Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Do employers need to pay their interns? The answer, at least in the Second Circuit, as well as several other circuits, depends on whether the intern or the employer was the primary beneficiary of the internship. In Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., the Second Circuit held that in some circumstances, interns are entitled to wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Circuit courts and the Department of Labor have different opinions regarding what test should apply in determining when interns should receive compensation. The Department of Labor bases its examination on a rigid six-factor test, where if one criterion is not satisfied, the intern is an employee. This Note argues that the Second Circuit’s approach is ideal because it is not only consistent with prior Supreme Court rulings, but it also gives courts the flexibility to evaluate the totality of the circumstances while focusing on the educational benefit to the intern.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.