As summer swiftly approaches, companies should consider their hiring practices for summer interns. The law governing paid and unpaid interns can be murky, but is becoming better defined and most often favors paying interns minimum wage and classifying them as non-exempt, hourly employees subject to overtime laws.
The law is redefining how companies treat interns. In fact, effective June 14, 2014, New York City will expand its local anti-discrimination and harassment law (the New York City Human Rights Law) to paid and unpaid interns. This is in response to an October 2013 ruling in a New York district court that dismissed an unpaid intern’s sexual harassment complaint under the law because unpaid interns are not employees and therefore not protected by it. The expansion will also require employers to reasonably accommodate interns’ disabilities under certain circumstances.