Yesterday Mayor de Blasio signed legislation designed to protect interns from discrimination, including sexual harassment. The City Council passed the legislation last month, in the wake of a recent federal court decision, Wang v. Phoenix Satellite Television, which held that interns were not employees under, and hence were not entitled to the protections of, the New York City Human Rights Law.
According to the New York City Council’s website, the new law (which will take effect in sixty days) adds two sections to the Administrative Code of the City of New York.
First, it adds a new subsection 28 to NYC Administrative Code 8-102, which defines the term “intern” to mean
an individual who performs work for an employer on a temporary basis whose work: (a) provides training or supplements training given in an educational environment such that the employability of the individual performing the work may be enhanced; (b) provides experience for the benefit of the individual performing the work; and (c) is performed under the close supervision of existing staff. The term shall include such individuals without regard to whether the employer pays them a salary or wage.
Second, it adds a new subsection 23 to NYC Administrative Code 8-107, which states that “[t]he provisions of this chapter relating to employees shall apply to interns.”
Some say that this new definition of “intern” is too narrow. Only time, and litigation, will tell.