On July 22, 2014 Governor Cuomo signed an amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law. The section added to the current law extended discrimination and harassment protection for unpaid interns.
We discussed New York City’s similar amendment to the City’s Human Rights Law in a previous article. This Statewide amendment comes on the heels of a 2013 decision in which an intern alleged she was sexually harassed by her manager, but had her case dismissed because she was not a paid employee, and therefore not protected by the original law.
Employers who have unpaid interns in their office, or who plan to create or continue an internship program are well advised to revise discrimination policies to ensure that unpaid interns are explicitly protected.