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City Council Bill to Protect Interns from Biased Bosses

Extends Same Rights Of Paid Workers

The City Council voted last Wednesday, Mar. 26, to amend the NYC Human Rights Law specifically providing that interns are entitled to the same workplace protections against discrimination and harassment as employees.

Recently, a court found that protections against workplace discrimination under the City’s Human Rights Law do not extend to interns. This legislation (Intro. No. 173-A), sponsored by City Council Member James Vacca, will ensure that the same protections given to employees are also given to interns, whether or not they receive a wage.

New York will be one of the first cities in the country to pass legislation specifically aimed at protecting interns from discrimination in the workplace. The Council’s legislation will specifically prohibit employers from discriminating against interns on the basis of their actual or perceived 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 offenses or stalking.

In addition, the law would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for interns in certain circumstances.

“No one should ever have to tolerate a discriminatory work environment, regardless of title,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Interns are often young people getting their first experience in a professional setting, so it’s especially important that they are exposed to a respectful and appropriate work environment where their rights are protected. We must make sure all New Yorkers are protected against work place discrimination.”

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