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Bill to protect unpaid interns signed into NYC law

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April 15, 2014 06:21 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Tuesday that makes sure the city's law against discrimination applies to interns, whether they're paid or not.

The law, passed by the City Council late last month, clarifies that the protections of the city's Human Rights Law cover interns as well as employees. It was proposed after a federal court ruled last year that a woman who brought a sexual harassment claim against a television company couldn't sue because she wasn't paid and therefore not under the law's protection.

"Our administration is fully committed to aggressively defending human rights in our city, and this legislation will provide critical legal protection for unpaid interns in the workplace," de Blasio said.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who first proposed legislation on the issue when she was in the City Council, said, "In more than 30 years of public service, I have sponsored over 1,000 interns in my career and they work as hard as many full-time employees I've seen. Interns deserve equal protection under the law."

The working conditions for unpaid interns have come under scrutiny recently. Several lawsuits have been filed against music companies, publishing companies and other industries over concerns that all interns deserve salaries.