For decades, the unpaid internship has been a rite of passage for students: beef up the resume, gain professional experience, and possibly get your foot in the door for a job. In recent years, however, unpaid interns have questioned whether they should be paid for the time they spent interning, and lawsuits soon followed. New York district court decisions struggled over which standard should be used to evaluate whether interns are employees protected by federal and state wage and hour laws, or trainees not entitled to compensation. In a July 2, 2015 decision, the Second Circuit in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, set out a new test for evaluating claims by unpaid interns that they are entitled to wages, but the practical implications of this ruling remain unsettled, and the decision itself is still subject to a possible en banc review. A panel of industry experts will discuss what the adoption of the so-called “primary beneficiary” test in the Second Circuit and elsewhere means for interns and employers; analyze the key factors identified in Glatt; evaluate the practical implications of the decision; and offer insight on the future of unpaid internships.
NYC Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Committee: Unpaid Internships in the Aftermath of Glatt v. Fox Searchlight