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April 22nd, 2014
NYC Law Now Protects Interns Against Workplace Discrimination
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill amending the New York City Human Rights Law (the "NYCHRL") to provide that interns are now protected from workplace discrimination and harassment. This amendment will make New York City one of the few cities in the country to extend the same workplace protections against discrimination and harassment to interns - both paid and unpaid - as is provided to employees.
Previously, only "employees" - a category that does not include interns or independent contractors - could use the NYCHRL to bring claims for discrimination or harassment at work. The amendment defines the term "intern" as follows:
- an individual who performs work for an employer on a temporary basis whose work: (a) provides training or supplements training given in an educational environment such that the employability of the individual performing the work may be enhanced; (b) provides experience for the benefit of the individual performing the work; and (c) is performed under the close supervision of existing staff. The term shall include such individuals without regard to whether the employer pays them a salary or wage.
The amendment further provides that the provisions of the NYCHRL "relating to employees shall apply to interns." Accordingly, interns are now protected against discrimination on the basis of their protected characteristics, such as their age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation, alienage or citizenship status or status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offense or stalking.
The amendment will go into effect as of June 15, 2015. Employers should take note and be sure to update their employee handbooks/anti-discrimination policies accordingly.
You should be aware that the classification as an intern rather than as an employee is a very hot topic of law and employers should carefully consider if their interns are being properly classified. We hosted an event and sent an Employment Alert on this topic. If you have any questions you should contact Wendy Stryker at (212) 705 4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Gavin McElroy at (212) 826 5541 or email@example.com, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Executive Compensation and Employment Group.
Other Employment Law Alerts
New York State Adds Employment Practices Form to Film Tax Credit Application
In May, we circulated an update about New York State and New York City's new anti-harassment laws and how to comply with them.
July 13 2018
How to Comply with New York’s New Anti-Harassment Rules
On April 12, 2018, the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed on new rules for public and private employers aimed at preventing sexual harassment.
May 14 2018
Overtime Rule Hang-Up Requires Careful Communication About Pay Decisions
December 2 2016