No Free Lunch: Navigating the Legal World of Unpaid Internships
On June 11, 2013, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures (Fox) illegally classified two individuals who worked on the Oscar-winning film, Black Swan, as unpaid interns rather than paid employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The interns performed menial tasks like getting coffee, taking lunch orders and taking out the trash for 40 or more hours a week without pay. More significantly, the Court conditionally certified a national class of hundreds of interns who worked in five Fox Entertainment Group divisions under the FLSA. The lawsuit, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., is one of several FLSA lawsuits unpaid interns have recently filed against companies across the country.