With an ever-increasing number of sexual harassment lawsuits in New York City, legislators at both the state and local level have created tougher regulations designed to increase compliance with ethical standards and decrease the number of people who experience victimization. Not only are there tougher penalties, clearer definitions, and additional training outlined in these new rules, there's also a move toward more enforcement of existing regulations in New York and throughout the United States.
For years, unpaid interns have not met the legal requirements to be able to file sexual harassment lawsuits in New York. This is because the very specific wording of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York City Human Rights Law requires and individual to be classified as an employee in order to do so. Unpaid interns do not receive direct income from their positions so, even though they are technically working for a company, they are not employees.
A recent rally in Washington Square Park sought to shine a national spotlight on the widespread problem of sexual harassment in New York City. The event was organized by Hollaback, an organization that's dedicated to stopping sexual harassment on New York City streets and public transportation. The rally was part of a worldwide event that spanned 60 cities including Mumbai, Brussels, and San Francisco. But as participants shared their stories with media outlets, it soon became clear that sexual harassment in the workplace is still as much of a problem as it ever was.