Proposed New Bill Would Protect Unpaid Interns In The Workplace

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On November 18, 2013, Bill No. S-3064, which would permit unpaid interns to seek relief from purported harassment, discrimination and retaliation under the Law Against Discrimination, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and the Worker Freedom From Employer Intimidation Act, was introduced.  Senator Nia Gill (Essex) sponsored the bill.

Presently, only one state - Oregon - provides such protections to unpaid interns.  However, at least one other state - New York - is currently considering similar protections.  Recent case law has increased the profile of the unique situation of unpaid interns, who often work side-by-side with paid colleagues, and lack not only compensation, but also workplace rights.