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Recent cases out of the Southern District of New York have shined a spotlight on the phenomenon that is the unpaid internship with for-profit companies. These rulings, awaiting scrutiny by the Second Circuit, have opened the floodgates for countless interns to challenge their “employers” for the minimum wage they may be owed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This article examines the evolution of testing for employment under the FLSA, which varies greatly among the circuits. It then argues for a limited exception to the FLSA inspired by the “small business exception” to the Affordable Care Act.

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