Employment discrimination protections extended to unpaid interns
Each day workers throughout the state of New York get up and go to work. Not all workers in the state are paid for what they do however. In an effort to get the requisite experience needed to land a paying job, many people secure unpaid internships with businesses in the fields of their interests. The individuals who pursue this option are often young people who are either in school or have just finished it.
In many places throughout the nation, despite the fact that they complete the same or similar types of work that paid employees do, unpaid interns are not provided the same protections. New York State recently became one of the few jurisdictions that requires that employers extend those protections to unpaid interns. New York City made this move earlier this year.
The change was accomplished via an act that amends the New York State Human Rights Law. Effective immediately, it protects unpaid interns as well as applicants for internships who are a member of a group protected by the NYSHRL, from the following:
Any worker, who believes that he or she is victim of discrimination in the workplace, whether as a paid employee or unpaid intern, should be aware that they may have legal options. The best way to explore those options is to contact a lawyer who handles employment discrimination cases for employees. That individual will likely be able to help them determine the specific behaviors that constitute discrimination and figure out the best way to proceed.
Source: Forbes, “New York State Becomes The Fourth Jurisdiction To Protect Unpaid Interns From Employment Discrimination,” Mark S. Goldstein, Aug. 1, 2014