A New York District Court recently rejected the sexual harassment claim of Lihuan Wang. Since Wang is an unpaid intern, she is not covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In some states, local laws close this loophole for unscrupulous managers and employers, but New York is not one of them!
Wang says that just a couple of weeks after her internship began, her supervisor crossed the line. Liu Zhengzhu lured Wang to his hotel room under the guise of discussing her performance, but once there, he forcefully embraced her, tried to kiss her, and touched her inappropriately. She further claims that he told her she was beautiful as he started to take his clothes off. Wang left the room, but approached Zhengzhu later to discuss her performance, when invited her to accompany him on a trip.
Zhengzhu was a bureau chief at the Chinese language media company, Phoenix Satellite Television. The court’s hands were basically tied without a law under which to act against Zhengzhu whether Wang’s claim is true or not. The court has repeatedly asked the city council to make efforts to close the gap in the law to obviously no avail.
Wang has also filed suit under the theory that Phoenix failed to hire her, although the company claims she never pursued further employment. Phoenix also denied, through their attorney, that anyone else was hired in New York as a reporter or that Wang was treated with discrimination.