The Examiner sets the bar the lowest when it comes to the legality of internships. How low?
HH: What characteristics of an unpaid internship make the internship illegal?
MM: An unpaid internship itself won’t be illegal unless the person has no choice but to participate—that’s slavery—or the labor or services themselves are illegal, like the sale of controlled substances without a license.
So, selling drugs and slavery make your internship illegal. Exploiters, beware !
The following clarifications from Marcia L. McCormick don’t really help, as she just says that interns are not employees nor contractors. What is the difference, we’re not told. Where it comes closest is “an internship is primarily designed to educate the intern” – and that’s a diluted version of what we read elsewhere that it should not benefit the employers.
This is also the first time that I come across an article with a legal bent that doesn’t mention the Fair Labor and Standards Act and its six criteria.