DC: Protection for unpaid interns. Not against exploitation though.

A D.C. City Council Member and Law School professor is taking on the issue of unpaid internships! After a lawsuit for sexual harassment by an unpaid intern was dismissed because she was not a employee under the law, the lawmaker wants to change the definition of an employee.

“The bill is fairly straightforward; it simply adds unpaid interns to the definition of an employee,” Cheh said. “I can’t imagine anyone who would oppose that.”

… as long as it doesn’t normalize further a situation where employees are exploited.

“We’re the intern capital of the world. The recent trend of unpaid internships has become so commonplace that there are hordes of our students working as unpaid interns,” Cheh said. “The idea that they’re unprotected against abusive behavior is unacceptable.”

What about lack of a salary, for a start? Thousands and thousands of interns are exploited in the US by not being offered compensation for their contribution – this epidemic should be a priority. There’s no problem with protecting people from abusive behavior. But this law sees the tree and misses the forest.

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