Current law does not grant unpaid federal government interns certain protections that employees have. H.R. 3231 would expand employee protection against race, gender, age, and other forms of discrimination to include federal unpaid interns.
According to the House Republican bill explanation, the lack of intern protection has been a problem in the past. “In 1997, in O’Connor v. Davis, an unpaid intern reported unwanted sexual advances by an employee, but the court indicated that because the plaintiff was not an employee, she was not protected by existing law.”
The bill is supported by both Republicans and Democrats. It passed the House with a unanimous vote.