On June 6 the Senate Labor Committee held a hearing on S539, the New Jersey Intern Protection Act. The bill, which is being sponsored by Sen. Gill (D-34), would expand New Jersey’s employee protection laws so that they cover unpaid interns. The three laws amended by the bill include the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which is the state’s anti-discrimination law, the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which is one of the broadest whistleblower laws in the nation, and the Worker Freedom from Employer Intimidation Act, which prohibits intimidation related to religious and political matters in the workplace.
NJCJI is concerned that this bill will cause employers to stop offering unpaid internships because the bill so greatly increases employers’ liability risk. Internships are one of the best ways students today can get the experience necessary to ensure they are ready for the workforce upon graduation. As such, the legislature should not be limiting the availability of internships by passing legislation that will discourage employers from offering them.