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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 California Employment Law Changes You Need to Know
2019 was a historic year for employment law in California. In case you missed them, we summarized the key employment law changes that may fundamentally affect businesses with California employees in 2020. Read more.
January 7 2020
Get Ready for New York Minimum Wage and Exempt Salary Changes
Increases to the New York State minimum hourly wage for non-exempt employees and increases in the minimum salary for exempt administrative and executive employees take effect on December 31, 2019. The required minimum rate and salary depends on the employee’s location and number of employees. Read more.
December 11 2019
How to Comply With New York’s New Harassment Rules That Are Taking Effect Now
Dramatic changes in New York’s sexual harassment laws are effective now, or will go into effect shortly. New York employers will have to adapt and take some important steps to comply. Here’s a summary of what all New York employers need to know. Read more.
November 12 2019