The New York Legislature recently introduced a bill that would afford the protections of the New York Human Rights Law (“Human Rights Law”) to unpaid interns. The bill comes on the heels of Judge P. Kevin Castel’s recent decision in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in which he determined that the federal and New York laws do not protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment. Wang. v. Phoenix Satellite Television U.S., Inc.
, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143627. This bill aims to change that.
The new bill would define an intern as a person who performs work for the purpose of training, with no guarantee of employment, and without pay. It would also add a section to the Human Rights Law prohibiting unlawful discrimination or harassment against unpaid interns.
We will continue to monitor this proposed legislation and will provide updates as they become available. The full text of this proposed legislation is available here.