Reacting to cases ruling that employment discrimination laws apply only to paid employees and not to unpaid interns, the New York City Council recently passed and the Mayor signed a local law extending the provisions of the New York City Human Rights Law to paid and unpaid interns.  The Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, gender, or disability (including pregnancy), among other protected classes.  The local law, which takes effect on June 14, 2014, defines an “intern” as an individual, whether paid or not, whose work:

 

  • is performed for an employer on a temporary basis;
  • provides training or supplements training given in an educational environment such that the employability of the individual performing the work may be enhanced;
  • provides experience for the benefit of the individual performing the work; and
  • is performed under the close supervision of existing staff.