Sunday, July 13, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Judge rules bosses can sexually harass interns because they're not real employees

According to a decision handed down by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Kevin Castel, unpaid interns aren't real employees and, thus, cannot sue their employers for sexual harassment. Lihuan Wang was an unpaid intern at Phoenix Satellite Television's New York bureau back in 2010 when she says her boss grabbed her butt and tried to kiss her.

Judge rules bosses can sexually harass interns because they're not real employees

Unpaid interns are technically not real employees so they cannot bring sexual harassment accusations against their supervisors. (iStock)
Unpaid interns are technically not real employees so they cannot bring sexual harassment accusations against their supervisors. (iStock)

According to a decision handed down by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Kevin Castel, unpaid interns in New York City aren't real employees and, thus, cannot sue their employers for sexual harassment. Lihuan Wang was an unpaid intern at Phoenix Satellite Television's New York bureau back in 2010 when she says her boss grabbed her butt and tried to kiss her.

"Protection of employees does not extend to unpaid interns," Castel wrote Oct. 3.

He said the City Council has amended the New York City Human Rights Law several times in recent years to cover more situations but has failed to shield interns.

"This is terrible," seethed Wang's lawyer, Lynne Bernabei. "There is no logical reason to allow an intern who is young and vulnerable to be sexually harassed."

City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan) said Wednesday she will introduce legislation to close the loophole that left Wang out in the cold.

Wang has since moved back to her native China while her boss, Zhengzhu Liu, was fired after another woman came forward claiming that he harassed her. [New York Daily News]

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