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Good news for interns seeking to file sexual harassment claims

Many Florida workers may not be aware of the full extent of their rights under the law. Nevertheless, powerful legislation exists that gives employees the right to pursue sexual harassment claims and other forms of workplace discrimination claims. That said, there is one group of workers in Florida that is grossly under protected when it comes to employment law: unpaid interns.

Hopefully this will change soon if the current trend of advocating for the rights of unpaid interns continues. Indeed, in the wake of last year's federal court ruling, which prohibited a female intern from filing a sexual harassment claim against her employer, one city has decided to make some changes to its workplace discrimination laws. Last month, the city decided to extend its municipal workplace protection laws to cover interns who do not receive a wage.

The progressive city that enacted this legislation is none other than our nation's financial capital, New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio proudly signed the legislation into law on a recent Tuesday. While the law unfortunately only serves to protect people who were formerly hired through a corporate internship program, it is definitely a positive step forward in the right direction. Residents can hope that state and municipal governments in Florida decide to follow in a similar direction.

In the meantime, some interns in Florida may actually be protected from certain forms of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, particularly if they are employed by a large corporation that has its own workplace employee rules in place. Also, it should be remembered that normal paid employees do not have to put up with discrimination or abuse on the job, and they can also seek justice under the law. Justice obtained from filing sexual harassment claims might include compensation for financial damages suffered after wrongful termination, being reinstated to a former position and financial restitution for other kinds of damages caused by the abuse.

Source: CBS New York, "De Blasio Signs Law Protecting Interns From Discrimination, Sexual Harassment", , April 15, 2014

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