Today in long overdue news, the city that runs on
Dunkin the blood of unpaid interns will now allow them the dignity of not being treated like human garbage who are totally asking for it. Hooray!
The Observer reports that City Council is set to pass a bill today that will grant unpaid interns some of the same rights as paid employees, such as the ability to sue for sexual harassment. The bill, which was sponsored by Councilman Jim Vacca and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, was created after a federal judge ruled last year that an unpaid intern could not sue for sexual harassment since she wasn’t a paid employee of the company. Provided that Mayor de Blasio doesn’t veto it, the bill has enough votes to pass, according to Vacca.
As one of said unpaid interns in the metaphorical hamster wheel that is the New York–based web journalism industry (sentences like this make a pretty convincing case for why interns should not be considered real employees), I can say that while the law is certainly overdue, it’s a step in the right direction. Say what you will about the ethics of unpaid internships, but as long as there are students—and increasingly, postgraduates—with the willingness and means to take on positions in glamorous-sounding industries like fashion, art and editorial for nothing other than the chance to mingle with celebrities at fancy photo shoots or, say, write guides for where to hook up in Prospect Park, intern culture isn’t going anywhere. And if the infinite amount of Millennial trend pieces has taught us anything, it’s that we’re a bunch of lazy, undeserving twats with terrible careers ahead of us, so we might as well drink up at those company-sponsored happy hours and enjoy rock bottom before the economy knocks it even lower.
Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa.