May 19, 2015
On April 14, 2015, Gov. Hogan signed SB 604 into law, creating Chapter 43. The new law applies to Maryland employers with 15 or more employees and provides certain protections for unpaid interns. According to the law, employers may not fail, refuse or terminate an internship, or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to the terms, conditions and privileges of employment (including benefits), based on the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Employers also must not fail or refuse to make a reasonable accommodation for a known disability of an otherwise qualified intern, and may not discriminate or retaliate against an intern if that intern alleges or otherwise charges the employer of violating their rights under the new law. While the new law does not require benefit coverage for an unpaid intern, it requires employers to review their practices relating to unpaid interns. Since the law also implicates non-benefits laws, such as employment and labor law, employers should work with outside counsel in ensuring compliance. Chapter 43 is effective Oct. 1, 2015.
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