Volunteers Qualify as Employees Who Should be Paid Under the FLSA
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) determined volunteer consignors who assisted for-profit companies at their sales qualified as “employees” under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The companies that organized the sales challenged the ruling alleging the department's determination that the volunteers were employees under the FLSA was arbitrary and capricious. The D.C. Circuit found the DOL reasonably concluded the volunteers expected compensation in the form of early access to sales and that the company would have paid workers to do the same job if it had no volunteers. Thus the DOL ruling was not arbitrary and capricious. A concurring judge posited that the company may have won if it had argued its volunteers were independent contractors; the work relationship was brief and it had little control over volunteers' schedules and working conditions.