The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York just ruled that an unpaid intern is not eligible for sexual harassment protection in the workplace because she’s not a paid employee. Oh please. Just because the court says it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.
The case was brought by Lihuan Wang a former intern at Chinese-language Phoenix Satellite Television U.S., who have an office in New York City. Wang’s supervisor brought her up to his hotel room and put his arms around her and groped her. She said no and left the room. Later she asked about available positions at the company and he said one would only be available if she accompanied him to Atlantic City. This is, by no means sexual harassment, unless, of course you know the definition of sexual harassment which, well, is this exactly.
The court said that the New York state legislature or the New York City Council can amend it’s current statutes to make misbehaving with interns illegal as well as immoral, but, as the law is written now, the lack of payment means that employers can treat interns anyway they want. Until that happens, be careful out there, boys and girls. Here’s just another reason to fear The Man. And there’s good news for Wang, she can still sue for not getting a job for not putting out. She better get something out of this!
Image via Veer.