In a world where the lines between employees and volunteers/interns are becoming increasingly blurred, it is nice to see at least one court easily dispense with a wage and hour lawsuit. On August 13, 2015, a federal judge in San Francisco dismissed a complaint seeking to establish a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for Yelp users who wrote online business reviews. The suit claimed that such users are “employees” and that reviews appearing on the website constituted “work” for which they were unpaid.
The money quote from the decision is “[w]hile the statutory definition of employee is exceedingly broad … it does have its limits. An individual who without promise or expectation of compensation, but solely for his personal purpose or pleasure, worked in activities carried on by other persons either for their pleasure or profit, is outside the sweep of the Act.” The full decision can be found here.