Maryland Passes Law Protecting Interns From Employment Discrimination

Effective October 1, 2015, Maryland employers are prohibited from discriminating against interns with respect to the terms, conditions or privileges of their internships (including offering and terminating internships), on the basis of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. 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 new law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

Covered interns

A covered “intern” is an individual that: (1) the employer has not committed to hiring at the conclusion of the internship; (2) is not entitled to wages for the work performed, and (3) performs work that: (i) supplements training given in an educational environment; (ii) provides experience for the benefit of the individual; (iii) does not displace regular employees; and (iv) is closely supervised by existing staff.

Remedies

An intern does not have the same rights of redress that employees have under Maryland labor laws. Specifically, an intern cannot sue his or her employer for a violation of the law. Instead, an intern may use the employer’s internal procedures for handling complaints of sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination. If the employer does not have an internal procedure, an intern may file a complaint with the Maryland Commission of Civil Rights for nonmonetary administrative remedies.

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