No one wants to be the target of workplace harassment or discrimination. From the emotional distress to the toxic work environment, it can affect a large portion of your workplace. Legally there are policies that make it illegal for an employee or fellow employee to harass or discriminate against another employee. What had not always been clear prior to now was how much an unpaid intern would be covered by these policies.
On June 22, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a new statute that extends workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation protection to unpaid interns. As a result of this decision, unpaid interns now have the same rights and protections as employees covered by the Connecticut Fair Employees Practices Act or CFEPA.
While the definition of an employer in the state of Connecticut is fairly broad (it includes any one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, limited liability companies, business trusts, legal representatives or any organized group of persons engaged in business in the state that allows interns), the definition of an intern is quite a bit more specific. An intern is defined as an individual who performs work for an employer for the purpose of training. There are also multiple requirements that must be met in order for the position to be considered an internship under the new law. Those qualifications are as follows:
If any of the above criteria is not met, the individual cannot be considered an intern under the new law.
We here at Carter Mario encourage a healthy and cooperative work environment and recognize the value that the experience of being and unpaid intern can have on an individual's future. These interns perform a valuable service to employers while learning practical knowledge of a workforce. Now they have the same rights and protections as those paid employees they work with so often.