Are Unpaid Interns Protected From Sexual Harassment California? Here’s All You Need To Know In 2018

By: JML Law | April 3, 2018.

Interns and unpaid workers are more vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace compared to the salary employees. Thousands of interns in Los Angeles and all across California face sexual harassment largely due to a common myth that interns are not protected from this type of pervasive harassment in California.

In reality, even though interns, job applicants, unpaid workers, and independent contractors are not classified as “employees,” they have the same protections as employees under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). That means: the same harassment and discrimination protections in the workplace, our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorney explains.

And the sooner interns learn that they actually have a right to sue their harassers, predators, abusers, and gropers for their sexual misconduct in the workplace, the sooner we can eliminate the widespread problem of young and inexperienced interns being “easy prey” for predatory employers, supervisors, and coworkers in Los Angeles and all across California.

Do interns have the same protections as employees in California

Ever since the #MeToo movement brought workplace sex discrimination and sexual harassment back into the forefront of U.S. national discussion, women and men across the country have been educating themselves about the rights and protections provided by the FEHA, and federal and state laws.

However, unpaid interns were left out of the national discussion, which is why our attorneys at JML Law feel the need to address this issue. Contrary to the popular belief, unpaid interns do have the same sexual harassment protections as employees in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California.

But this was not always the case. California passed a bill extending sexual harassment protections to job applicants, unpaid interns, professional relationships, and independent contractors back in 2014.

If you are an intern who has been sexually harassed at work, and you are not sure where to go to file a complaint: contact the JML Law and let our best sexual harassment attorneys in California to help you and protect you from possible retaliation. We know how to keep you safe and bring harassers to justice.

Interns are protected from sexual harassment in Los Angeles

Given that interns usually have to receive a recommendation from their employer or supervisors, it gives harassers a perfect opportunity to sexually harass unpaid and inexperienced interns hoping that they will keep their mouths shut. And usually, that is exactly what happens, which is why so many harassers, predators, and abusers get away with harassing the most vulnerable people in their workplaces: interns.

But do not put up with or tolerate inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct just because you want your harasser to provide a recommendation that would help you start your professional career. It is simply not worth it. If you have been a victim of verbal, visual, or physical harassment in the workplace do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer immediately.

The same goes for interns who have been a victim of “quid pro quo” harassment, which can appear in two forms:

  1. your employer offers some kind of employment benefits (wages, satisfactory recommendation, employee status, etc.) in exchange for sexual favors; or
  2. your employer threatens to take certain employment actions against you(termination, bad recommendation, etc.) unless you submit to sexual demands.

Whatever is the case, do know that you, as an intern, have sexual harassment protections in Los Angeles and all across California. The next step is to take legal action against the harasser and bring the abuser to justice. Do not let harassers get away, as you are most likely not their only victim. Step forward and speak up to save yourself and others.

Contact JML Law to get a free consultation about your particular case. Call our offices at 818-610-8800 or send us an email.

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