Benjamin v. B&H Education, Inc. - Ninth Circuit

Headline: Ninth Circuit panel follows the “primary beneficiary test” in holding cosmetology school students are not employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act or under California and Nevada laws.

Areas of Law: Labor Law, Fair Labor Standards Act

Issues Presented: Whether cosmetology students are employees as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) or under California and Nevada laws, when they worked without pay in the course of their training.

Whether the district court abused its discretion by striking witness declarations pursuant to Rule 37(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) when the witnesses had not been listed as FRCP 26 requires.

Brief Summary: The Ninth Circuit panel found that under either the FLSA or California and Nevada laws, cosmetology students were not employees of the school and thus not entitled to wages and other employee benefits for work performed during the course of their training. It applied the seven-factor “primary beneficiary test” to reach its decision. Because their work would qualify them to practice cosmetology, the students, not the school, were the primary beneficiaries of their labor. The Court also concluded that the students would not be employees under California and Nevada laws.

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