Can someone who is turned down for an internship bring a discrimination claim?

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone by not offering them employment because of one of the protected characteristics (eg age, disability or sex). "Employment" in this context covers contracts of employment, contracts of apprenticeship, and any other contract personally to do work. Therefore, an applicant for an internship can bring a discrimination claim if the internship being offered falls within this definition of employment. It is likely to do so where it puts the intern under a contractual obligation personally to perform work.

While many internships are not advertised formally, an individual who is turned down after a speculative application can still bring a discrimination claim, for example by comparing themselves to someone else who gains an internship with the organisation through family connections.