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house Bill H.R. 136

Do Unpaid Federal Interns Need Protection from Harassment and Discrimination at Work?

Argument in favor

While current anti-discrimination laws protect unpaid federal interns, they aren’t explicitly mentioned in the law. That’s not good enough, as federal interns should know beyond a doubt that they can’t be discriminated against.

Steven's Opinion
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01/13/2019
They need to be protected as all workers do.
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Makie's Opinion
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01/13/2019
This would go a long way in raising awareness of worker's rights. Nobody should be subject to harassment or discrimination in the workplace. And everyone should be aware of their rights in these matters.
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Hector's Opinion
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01/14/2019
I like it, it's free! Just closing a loophole that leaves these people excluded from Justice. It's more like snitches deserve trouble and that's very wrong.
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Argument opposed

This legislation would change nothing at all with respect to how anti-discrimination laws protect unpaid federal interns. They’re already protected by those laws and policies, Congress doesn’t need to spend time on this.

Jorge's Opinion
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01/13/2019
This is just window-dressing. Pay the interns instead. Not paying interns ensures that they come from wealthy families. It is a class issue.
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NoHedges's Opinion
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01/15/2019
No, I am sick and tired of dealing in small fixes for select groups. We need equity under the law 14th amendment, protection for all.
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Kathy's Opinion
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01/14/2019
You already have laws in place to take care of this issue. We do not need multiple layers of laws that cover the same thing. Start cutting spending. Remember we are BROKE!!!!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 136?

This bill would extend protections against workplace harassment and discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability to unpaid interns who work in the federal government. While paid interns are already treated as employees and the federal government prohibits discrimination in the workplace through existing laws and policies, unpaid interns are not explicitly covered.

Impact

Unpaid federal interns, federal agencies, and the Dept. of Justice.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 136

$0.00
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have a negligible effect on the federal budget.

More Information

Of Note: According to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a sexual harassment case filed by an unpaid intern was dismissed in 1997 because the courts concluded that interns couldn’t be considered employees for the purpose of employment law.


In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced this bill to ensure that unpaid interns receive the same protections against discrimination as employees:

“Due to a loophole in existing law, unpaid interns are not protected from discrimination and sexual harassment. 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 law.”

This bill was passed unanimously by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has three Democratic cosponsors in the House.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user USDAgov)

AKA

Federal Intern Protection Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend title 5, United States Code, to protect unpaid interns in the Federal Government from workplace harassment and discrimination, and for other purposes.

    They need to be protected as all workers do.
    Like (6)
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    This is just window-dressing. Pay the interns instead. Not paying interns ensures that they come from wealthy families. It is a class issue.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    This would go a long way in raising awareness of worker's rights. Nobody should be subject to harassment or discrimination in the workplace. And everyone should be aware of their rights in these matters.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    I like it, it's free! Just closing a loophole that leaves these people excluded from Justice. It's more like snitches deserve trouble and that's very wrong.
    Like (3)
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    Share
    Everyone, regardless of work status or social status, needs equal protection as a human being.
    Like (2)
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    Of course
    Like (2)
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    Absolutely yes I support this bill to increased protections for Federal interns.
    Like (2)
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    No, I am sick and tired of dealing in small fixes for select groups. We need equity under the law 14th amendment, protection for all.
    Like (2)
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    Unpaid interns do not receive the full protection of federal anti discrimination and harassment laws. These protections should be extended to them. Failure to do so renders them vulnerable to abuse. Human rights should not be limited to those who earn a salary.
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    Any worker, intern, or unpaid worker/volunteer should be protected against harassment.
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    Should have it whether you’re paid or not.
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    Wether paid or unpaid fair treatment in the work place needs to be enforced. Interns especially need these protections since they are doing work that is not covered under employment laws.
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    You already have laws in place to take care of this issue. We do not need multiple layers of laws that cover the same thing. Start cutting spending. Remember we are BROKE!!!!
    Like (1)
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    I don't see how "sexual harassment" even happens with these "unpaid" interns. In order to even become and "intern" at the White House or either houses of government, you have to be in some way connected. An intern is usually related in some way or the child of either a relative or supporter of an elected official in Washington. If the kid is being sexually harassed or otherwise mistreated, they need only go to their parents or the elected official who sponsored them. I don't see how this bill would serve to prevent sexual harassment. Seems to me that it would only be useful if the "intern" was seeking monetary compensation from any claim of sexual harassment.
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    We have to protect those in the workplace especially in the Cỏngess.
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    This is a no-brainer to say that an unpaid intern needs protection. When someone gets something for nothing there are usually no thought about disposability or treatment of the person. I've seen this before and know there needs to be protection.
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    This legislation would change nothing at all with respect to how anti-discrimination laws protect unpaid federal interns. They’re already protected by those laws and policies, Congress doesn’t need to spend time on this.
    Like (1)
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    It doesn’t matter if you’re being paid or unpaid, everyone who works for the federal government should receive these protections!
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    Sadly, these protections have proven to be clearly needed.
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    They also should PAY all interns!
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