FEHA currently protects the right of all persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination or harassment based on a protected status or characteristic.

Effective January 1, 2015, AB 1443 expands this protection to the selection, termination, training, or other treatment of unpaid interns and volunteers (i.e., individuals in a temporary unpaid work experience program). AB 1443 also extends the obligation to accommodate bona fide religious beliefs to unpaid interns and volunteers.

ACTION ITEM

California employers who use unpaid interns and volunteers should update their employee manuals, handbooks and anti-harassment / discrimination material and training content to include unpaid interns and volunteer positions.

Companies may want to revisit their unpaid internship and volunteer programs, given the new protections that apply to these types of arrangements.