California Bans Harassment and Discrimination of Unpaid Interns
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In a state place where the technology industry is booming, California has recently become the third state to ban harassment and discrimination of unpaid interns in the workplace. This law protects unpaid interns by extending the provisions under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Under the new law, employers are expected to take all reasonable and necessary steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.
Unpaid internships can provide valuable experience. In the technology industry, many people would give their time and free labor, as it’s an opportunity to network and build the necessary skills for future employment. However, unpaid interns haven’t always received proper treatment, since they’re not technically classified as employees. There have even been sexual harassment cases, where employers simply turned their heads the other way.
With this new provision in place, unpaid interns will be protected against this kind of workplace behavior. Will this set the precedent with other states moving forward? Having this new law in place may not completely solve all the problems with unpaid internships, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
In light of the new law, employers should take extra time to review their companies’ policies and procedures for addressing discrimination and harassment in the workplace and ensure these are compliant with unpaid interns. Hopefully, this means other states will follow this trend and outlaw unjust behavior in the future.
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