April 22, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY — Mayor de Blasio has signed legislation to protect interns from discrimination in the workplace. New York City is one of the first municipalities in the nation to pass a law specifically prohibiting discrimination against paid and unpaid interns.
This legislation will clarify that interns, paid or unpaid, are entitled to the full protections guaranteed to employees under the City’s Human Rights Law, and addresses a recent federal court decision that a woman in our city was not protected from sexual workplace harassment solely because she was an intern. This legislation underscores the fact that all interns are entitled to a workplace free from discrimination.
“New Yorkers deserve to work in a safe environment without fear of harassment or discrimination—and this legislation will ensure that interns, paid or unpaid, are entitled to workplace protections under the law. Our administration is fully committed to aggressively defending human rights in our city, and this legislation will provide critical legal protection for unpaid interns in the workplace,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I want to thank Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Jimmy Vacca, and all the City Council members who co-sponsored this critical legislation. Our administration looks forward to working with the Council in the future to ensure that all New Yorkers have the full protections of our Human Rights Law, and that every provision of the law is strongly enforced.”
In today’s workplace, where more interns and fellows are working it is incredibly important to establish that short-term, unpaid employees have the same rights and protections against inappropriate treatment as paid employees. We have tens of thousands of interns in New York City who make up a vital part of our workforce, and they deserve the same protections as all other employees. Every worker, regardless of whether they are paid, should have the right to do their job in a harassment-free environment.
“Today, our city has taken an important step to ensure that interns are granted the same protections in the workplace as other employees,” saidSpeaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.“Our legislation makes clear that there’s no place for discrimination or harassment of any kind in our city, and I thank Council Member Jimmy Vacca, Civil Rights Committee Chair Darlene Mealy, my Council colleagues and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer for their tireless work on this issue.”