As college graduates flow into the workforce this summer, interns have new discrimination and harassment protections and rights in the state of California starting this year under AB 1443.
Employees already have such protection under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which prohibits, in part, harassment and discrimination in employment because of:
age, ancestry, color, religious creed, denial of family and medical care leave, disability, marital status, medical condition, genetic information, military and veteran status, national origin, race, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation
Protection has been expanded to include individuals working under an unpaid internship or a short-term program designed to provide unpaid work experience. Such discrimination is unlawful against these individuals in terms of their selection, termination, training and treatment.
Employers must now look at these unpaid interns in a different light, ensuring for them a workplace free of harassment and discrimination under the FEHA, just as they do for their employees. This amendment to Government Code section 12940 serves to protect this previously vulnerable class of would-be employees.
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