California’s FEHA protections now extend to unpaid interns and volunteers. On January 1, 2015, AB 1443 went into effect and it essentially extends FEHA protections to unpaid interns and volunteers.
California Government Code § 12940(c) now provides:
For any person to discriminate against any person in the selection, termination, training, or other terms or treatment of that person in any apprenticeship training program, any other training program leading to employment, an unpaid internship, or another limited duration program to provide unpaid work experience for that person because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of the person discriminated against.
So this includes not only unpaid interns and volunteers, but also any apprenticeship training program or any other program leading to employment.
This law will not affect responsible employers who would not tolerate this activity, but only those employers who do tolerate the type of activity FEHA is designed to prevent.
Can you imagine if this law applied to Members of Congress?!
But they do have the Congressional Accountability Act which applies some of the labor laws applicable to business to Congress, but the FEHA protections I think are broader and I’m not sure if those federal laws apply to interns.
It’s a good thing for President Clinton laws protecting interns did not apply to him 1995.