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Oversight Committee Passes Cummings’ Bill to Strengthen Intern Protections

Mar 9, 2017
Press Release

Oversight Committee Passes Cummings’ Bill to Strengthen Intern Protections

 

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 9, 2017)—The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed a bill introduced by Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings to strengthen protections for interns. H.R. 653, the Federal Intern Protection Act would:

  • define “intern” as someone who performs uncompensated voluntary service in an agency to earn credit awarded by an educational institution or to learn a trade or occupation;
  • extend workplace protections against discrimination and harassment to unpaid interns; and
  • close existing loopholes that permit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin as prohibited by section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; age as prohibited by Sections 12 and 15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and handicapping condition as prohibited in section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

“Due to a loophole in existing law, unpaid interns are not protected from discrimination and sexual harassment,” Cummings said.  “This Committee has held a number of oversight hearings on employee misconduct, and in some instances, the misconduct involved the sexual harassment of interns.  We are simply closing a loophole in existing policy.” 

There are no federal laws that protect unpaid interns against sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, handicapping condition, and other factors.

This legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Bobby Scott, Grace Meng, and Eleanor Holmes Norton.  

115th Congress