Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc., No. 11-CV-6784 (S.D.N.Y. June 11, 2013): In a further reminder about the risks of using unpaid interns, District Judge William Pauley III ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc. violated minimum wage laws by not paying interns for work done on the set of “Black Swan.” Two former interns claimed that they performed the work of low-level employees such as fulfilling lunch orders, answering phone calls, and organizing documents, but were improperly classified as interns and therefore worked without pay. In entering summary judgment for the plaintiffs and granting conditional class certification, Judge Pauley relied upon the following criteria set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor that demonstrate a bona fide unpaid intern: (1) the internship is similar to training that could be given in an educational environment; (2) the internship experience is for the benefit of the intern; (3) the intern does not displace regular employees, but rather, works under close supervision of staff; (4) the employer derives no immediate advantage from the intern (and, on occasion, the employer’s operations may actually be impeded); (5) the intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and (6) the employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent on the internship. In doing so, Judge Pauley rejected Fox’s preferred “primary benefit test” as too subjective and unpredictable. In the end, Judge Pauley concluded that the plaintiffs were not bona fide interns because Fox had made no effort to educate or train them, any benefit conferred to them was incidental, and Fox received the benefits of their unpaid work in lieu of paid employees. As demonstrated by the recent flurry of similar complaints, employers should rework their existing internship programs to ensure compliance with the wage and hour laws.
Arizona Court of Appeals Decision Highlights Employer’s Burden of Proving Disqualification from Unemployment Benefits
The Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion overturning the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board’s denial of unemployment benefits to an employee who was terminated for excessive tardiness. Importantly, the court ruled in favor of the employee because it found that the employer failed to prove that the employee’s tardiness constituted “willful or negligent misconduct,” as required under Arizona law.
The American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 (also referred to as the “stimulus bill”) signed by President Barack Obama on February 17 contains a provision requiring recipients of TARP funds or Federal Reserve loans to comply with requirements normally placed on H-1B dependent employers. Generally, an H-1B dependent employer is one with 15 percent
By a vote of 47-31, the Assembly passed a bill (A2243) designed to facilitate the timely resolution of contract disputes between public employers and their police and fire unions by establishing statutory timeframes for certain phases of the interest arbitration process. Presently, no time restrictions exists for mediation and fact-finding stages of police and fire