Unpaid interns working for Milwaukee firms and businesses around the county recently found out that they did not share in paid employees' workplace protections. Sexual harassment laws, according to a New York federal district court, do not apply to unpaid interns since they are technically not employees. The case before the court dealt with a 22-year-old unpaid female intern who claimed she was lured to a boss's hotel room and sexually propositioned in exchange for an offer of full-time employment. The judge in the case said the New York City's human rights laws did not extend to unpaid interns. The company fired the boss after investigating the intern's allegations.
At the time of the ruling, the only state that had broadened its harassment standards to protect unpaid interns was Oregon, which passed a law in June 2013 to cover all interns, paid or unpaid. An attorney familiar with this kind of case said that there is a huge hole in states' employment laws that needs to be closed up in order to protect interns.
Workplace harassment such as sexual harassment or workplace bullying is no joke. A Milwaukee attorney dedicated to helping individuals who have been threatened in the workplace due to sexual harassment may be able to offer valuable advice and counsel to clients. A lawyer might be instrumental in helping a victim of harassment recover lost wages or be compensated for their damages.
Source: CNN, "Unpaid interns not protected from sexual harassment", Emily Jane, October 09, 2013