Attention New York City Employers: New Unpaid Intern Protections to Take Effect June 14, 2014

As we previously posted on April 16, 2014 (click here), the recently-passed “unpaid intern” amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law (the “NYCHRL”) will become effective this weekend on June 14, 2014.  The timing of the amendments could not be more appropriate as many New York City employers are in the early days of their summer internship programs.  The amendments broaden the scope of the existing NYCHRL protections to include unpaid interns, who will now have the same rights as employees to sue employers for discrimination and harassment based upon their age, sex, race, national origin, disability or sexual orientation, amongst other protected class categories.

Under the amended statute, “interns” are defined as temporary workers, closely supervised by existing staff, whose work provides them with training or supplements an educational experience in a way that is intended to benefit those individuals.  This definition applies equally to all interns regardless of whether they are paid or unpaid.  If they have not done so already, New York City employers are strongly encouraged to review their discrimination and harassment policies and procedures to ensure that they are adequately protecting interns (and themselves) under the new amendments.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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