When taking on an internship, generally you are agreeing to work for a company in order to gain knowledge and understanding of how that particular type of company operates and what the career field itself entails. As an intern, you agree to work without pay, or any promise of receiving employment following the end of the internship. Just as other employees’ rights are protected under the Human Rights Act from unlawful behavior in the workplace, shouldn’t interns also receive this same treatment?
Employment and labor laws acknowledge what an intern position is, and now includes the amended rights of those interning in the workplace. To officially be considered as an “intern,” an agreement must be made between the employer and the individual with the proper guidelines set forth. These include:
- The work completed is used solely to supplement the training of the individual and enhance their knowledge in the field increasing their chance of employability.
- The purpose of the internship is to benefit the individual while not displacing any current employees of the company.
- The work performed is closely supervised
Illinois employment and labor law attorneys want those who were or are currently enrolled in an internship to also be aware of their specific rights regardless of the fact that they weren’t or aren’t being paid for their work. Anyone who becomes a victim of sexual harassment at work should have the right to pursue a lawsuit against those committing the act.
January 1, 2015 marked the start of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) acknowledging those who are interning and their protected rights against sexual harassment in the workplace. Employer’s are expected to abide by state laws in maintaining a healthy workplace environment, as well as informing their employees of the appropriate and inappropriate behavior proposed in their employee handbooks. This information should be also shared with interns to ensure they understand their rights while working within the company as well.
In the event you find your boss or other employees in the work field making unwarranted sexual advances toward you, be sure to report this immediately to another administrator or someone higher up. If the behavior continues and you wish to take further action, you can always contact an employment law legal representative who can provide you with the guidance you may need.
At USAttorneys, employment and labor law attorneys in Illinois are well advised and familiar with these new laws enacted in order to protect interns against harassment in the workplace. Should you require assistance, they are able to provide you with the possible actions you can take should you find yourself to be a victim.