California employment law, interns and other unpaid volunteers and workers are not protected by
law when it comes to
sexual harassment. This issue came to the attention of California Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner
when she heard the story of Lihuan Wang, an unpaid intern at a TV station
in New York City.
Lihuan Wang's Story
Wang sued her employer Zhengzhu Liu in 2013, claiming that she was lured
to his hotel room under the pretense that he wanted to speak with her
about her performance and the prospect of a full-time position. She claimed
that, when they were alone together in the room, her employer attempted
to kiss her and "squeezed her buttocks." Liu then showed no
interest in hiring Wang after she denied his advances.
The judge presiding over the case ruled that it would be thrown out since
Wang was not an "employee" in legal standards and therefore
did not qualify for employee protection from sexual harassment.
Assemblywoman Skinner's Bill
In California, unpaid workers and volunteers could face the same lack of
protection should they attempt to file a sexual harassment claim, since
they are also not considered "employees." California Assemblywoman
Nancy Skinner seeks to change that.
On January 6, 2014, Assemblymember Skinner introduced
a bill to protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment and other forms of workplace
discrimination. On her website, Skinner is quoted as saying:
"The recession has forced young people to rely on these unpaid positions
to build resumes and contacts in an incredibly competitive job market…
Employers owe them a safe and fair workplace."
Essentially, the bill would explicitly ban workplace harassment and discrimination
toward unpaid interns and would apply general employee rights to unpaid interns.
Read more about Assemblywoman Skinner and her bill by
HIRE AN ORANGE COUNTY SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWYER
If you have been harassed or have experienced discrimination in your workplace,
do not let it slide.
Spray, Gould & Bowers LLP can provide an
Orange County employment attorney to fight for your rights and help you obtain justice, as well as fair
Call now at (877) 742-2889 to contact us and schedule a consultation!