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Employment Discrimination Against Interns Unlawful

With summer rapidly approaching, many companies plan to hire interns. Often, these interns agree to take on positions that are “unpaid.” However, laws exist setting forth specific rules concerning whether an intern must be paid.

For example, the Department of Labor has defined an intern (and not requiring pay) to include individuals who work to supplement educational training and is not guaranteed a job at the conclusion of the internship, is not displacing other regular employees, whose work may not be a benefit to the company, and may even be a hindrance, and is closely supervised by existing staff.

Recently several high profile unpaid intern lawsuits found that companies treated interns really as “employees” and hence were entitled to be compensated for the time spent working.

Further, Maryland has become the latest state to adopt laws protecting interns from employment discrimination. Pursuant to the new law, interns cannot be discriminated again with respect to the terms of their internships on the basis of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Further, the law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for interns with disabilities, and prohibits retaliation against interns for pursuing their rights under the law.

The bottom line – the federal government and states are recognizing and protecting the valuable place interns occupy in the work force and see to ensure that intern receive proper treatment and pay for their efforts.

If you are seeking an internship or have questions about your internship, please contact the experiencedAtlanta employment discrimination lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLP for an immediate, confidential consultation.

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