Document Type


First Page

E. Supp. 71


On April 28, 2011, in Solis v. Laurelbrook Sanitarium & School, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that students who worked as part of the curriculum at a religious-based boarding school were not employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In so holding, the Sixth Circuit expressly endorsed the “primary benefit” test for determining whether trainees are employees for purposes of the FLSA. The primary benefit test effectuates the purpose of the FLSA, provides courts with the flexibility to prevent employers from exploiting workers, and ultimately benefits employees and students like those at Laurelbrook. Nevertheless, the test does little to clarify Congress’s circular definitions of “employ” and “employee,” leaving employers and schools like Laurelbrook without much guidance.