August 10, 2020

Volume X, Number 223

August 07, 2020

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Maryland Passes Bill Protecting Interns From Employment Discrimination

On April 14, 2015, an act protecting interns in Maryland from employment discrimination officially became law. As of October 1, 2015, 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. Among other things, 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 any “intern,” defined as an individual whom: (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.

The law states that it does not add interns to the definition of employee in the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act (“FEPA”), such that an intern would be entitled to any relief provided under FEPA. Instead, it provides separate protections. The law does not create a private cause of action for interns. Instead, interns will have access to the employer’s internal procedures for investigating discrimination. If the employer does not have an internal procedure, interns may file a complaint with the Maryland Commission of Civil Rights for nonmonetary administrative remedies.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume V, Number 114


About this Author

Guy Brenner, Labor Attorney, Proskauer Rose, arbitration proceedings Lawyer

Guy Brenner is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Group. He has extensive experience representing employers in both single-plaintiff and class action matters, as well as in arbitration proceedings. He also regularly assists federal government contractors with the many special employment-related compliance challenges they face.

Guy represents employers in all aspects of employment and labor litigation and counseling, with an emphasis on non-compete and trade secrets issues,...