A federal judge in New York City has made a shocking ruling: unpaid interns cannot sue their employers for sexual harassment, because the interns are not “employees” under the law.
The ruling comes in the case of Lihuan Wang, who worked as an unpaid intern at the New York office of a Hong Kong-based company. Wang alleges that her boss brought her into a hotel room, touched her inappropriately and attempted to kiss her. The alleged offender was fired from the company after another employee made her allegations of sexual harassment public.
Wang sued the company and the boss for sexual harassment under New York City and New York State civil rights laws. The judge in the case has ruled, however, that Wang is not entitled to protection under these laws because she is not an “employee.” The judge’s reasoning is based on the definition of employee which only includes those hired for compensation.
While it is not clear whether the insane implications of the ruling are lost on the judge, the ruling has solid backing in laws and rulings across the nation. Presently, only Oregon allows unpaid interns to sue for sexual harassment. A bill has been introduced in the New York City Council to provide unpaid interns with a cause of action for sexual harassment.
While rational people continue to wait for a legal overhaul that would allow interns to sue for sexual harassment, sexual deviants across the country appear to have license to prey on the most vulnerable individuals at a workplace: young and naïve unpaid interns.
If you or your loved one is the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, you may be able to recover fair and substantial personal injury damages. For a free and confidential consultation on your potential Massachusetts sexual harassment claim, please call 617-787-3700 to speak with one of our highly experienced Massachusetts sexual assault attorneys, Boston personal injury lawyers or Boston, Massachusetts wrongful death accident attorneys. You can also email our Boston, Massachusetts sexual harassment lawyers, Massachusetts personal injury attorneys and Boston, MA wrongful death lawyers at email@example.com.
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