On June 23, 2014, the New Jersey Senate passed a bill giving legal rights to interns. The bill has been received in the Assembly, and referred to the Assembly Labor Committee for review.
The bill provides legal rights and remedies to interns under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, and the Worker Freedom From Employer Intimidation Act. Under the bill, “intern” is defined as an individual who performs services for an employer on a temporary basis (regardless of whether they are paid a salary or wage) whose work provides training or supplements training in an educational environment, provides experience for the benefit of the intern, and is performed under the supervision of existing staff.
The bill would provide interns with a private right of action, and also empower the state, under the NJLAD, to bring actions against employers.
Employers’ treatment of interns has become a hot topic for legislatures. As we previously posted here and here, New York has proposed legislation similar to the New Jersey bill. New York City passed an ordinance providing legal rights to interns in April, as we wrote about here.
We will continue to monitor this proposed legislation and will provide updates as they become available.