Presentation on theme: "WORKING WITH VOLUNTEERS: MANAGING OUR BLESSINGS SO THEY DON’T BECOME A BURDEN (Part 2) (July 15, 2009) Larry Clure Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P."— Presentation transcript:
WORKING WITH VOLUNTEERS: MANAGING OUR BLESSINGS SO THEY DON’T BECOME A BURDEN (Part 2) (July 15, 2009) Larry Clure Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.
Topics Ending the Relationship with Volunteers Volunteer Handbooks and Policies Insurance Managing Volunteers Risks to Volunteers
Who Is A Volunteer? Under state law: a person who performs services without expectation of compensation except for reasonable reimbursement for actual expenses. Under federal law: there is an allowance for payment of less than $500.
“Firing” Volunteers When can you terminate a volunteer? Insubordination Theft Incompetence Change in the mission of the organization Harassment of clients, employees, or other volunteers Progressive discipline Is reassignment possible?
How Do You Fire A Volunteer? Risks Future claim that they were an employee Discrimination claims Contract claims Tort claims Minimizing the Risk Adopt a policy of nondiscrimination. Keep a file on volunteers. Document improper acts before termination.
Volunteer Drivers Driving records for all volunteers whose duties include driving may be obtained from the DPS.
Vehicle Insurance An organization that uses motor vehicles must have liability insurance with the following limits: $20,000 for injury or death of one person $40,000 for injury or death of two people $15,000 for property damage arising out of any one accident
Volunteer Policies and Handbook Ensure that volunteers understand the standard of behavior of the organization. General information in a volunteer handbook includes: Office hours Volunteer stations Description of programs Contact info of board members Information for volunteers with disabilities
Volunteer Handbook Welcome message Mission and history of organization Volunteer expectations- Operational Volunteer rights and responsibilities Prohibited behavior conduct Code of conduct Training
Volunteer Handbook Incentives or rewards Benefits Reimbursement policy Termination Use of organizational equipment Complaint/grievance procedure for volunteers Confidentiality requirements Hiring and firing process– “volunteer-at-will” Operational guidelines
Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities Confidentiality Proprietary information Representing the organization to others Inappropriate conduct Use of computers/ Contacting clients or other volunteers
Volunteer Code of Conduct Attendance and punctuality Technology-related policy Copyright/ownership issues Maintenance of volunteer files Documentation of expenses
Should Volunteers Sign Confidentiality Agreements? This depends on the type of information the volunteer will be able to access. Personal client family or health information List of donors
Insurance Include volunteers as “insureds” under Commercial General Liability policy Organization’s professional malpractice insurance may cover volunteers Make sure professionals carry their own malpractice insurance covering volunteer work Make sure that volunteer drivers have their own insurance covering them while driving organization’s vehicles
Insurance Volunteer accident and injury policy: partial reimbursement for medical treatment for volunteers injured while performing services to organizations Some states worker’s compensation based on imputed salary (for volunteer working close to full time) Be sure to document that individual is covered as volunteer, not employee
Minimum Amount of Insurance If an organization carries liability insurance in the amounts set by Texas law, state law caps the amount of money a person can recover from the organization for injuries resulting from a volunteer’s actions. In order for the liability cap to apply, an organization must carry, at a minimum, a one million dollar bodily injury and property damage policy covering the acts or omissions of the organization and its employees and volunteers.
Caps The liability of organizations carrying the minimum insurance is damages capped at: $500,000 for each person $1,000,000 for each single occurrence of bodily injury or death $100,000 for each single occurrence of property damage caused by volunteers.
What do you mean the insurance doesn’t cover volunteer drivers? Get sufficient insurance coverage. Review policies annually for exclusions and coverage. Assess current liability risks to determine whether new or higher insurance coverage is warranted. Understand the terms of the policies.
Common Insurance Claims Made by Volunteers Personal accident claims-slip and fall injuries Property claims-burglary or vandalism Motor vehicle-accidents in the parking lot Employment-wrongful termination
Useful Forms for Volunteer Management Volunteer brochure, recruitment materials Volunteer application Background check and reference forms Engagement form Ensure that the individual understands the requirements of the position Sets out the length of the commitment Training and handbook acknowledgment forms
Managing Volunteers Orientation Introduction to the organization Provides overview of the volunteer requirements Sets expectation of volunteers Important contacts
Copyright Issues A volunteer ( or an independent contractor) owns the copyright for an original work. An organization should obtain a copyright assignment for volunteer designs.
Risks To Volunteers
Types Of Harm “OTJ” injury or illness Physical harm/emotional distress Employees, clients, other volunteers Factors to Consider Volunteer’s duties Degree of supervision Amount of contact with certain populations Motor vehicles
Harassment ABC Nonprofit operates a home rehab program that pairs uses both paid and volunteer labor. ABC has been lucky to have some of its General Contractor services provided by a volunteer contractor. She recently approached ABC’s Volunteer Coordinator to complain about the behavior of a member of her current crew which is composed of all volunteers.
Harassment Volunteers may be both victims and perpetrators Organization’s Harassment Policy should prohibit harassment both by and of volunteers Organization is liable for harassment of employees by volunteers under anti- discrimination laws Organization is liable for harassment of volunteers by employee or client under general liability principles Training
Limiting Liability for Harassment Include volunteers in harassment policy: exception to general rule of separate administration for volunteers and employees Make sure that volunteers and employees know that volunteers are included Train employees and volunteers Provide reporting mechanism Investigate and respond to allegations by/against volunteers Take appropriate action including dismissal of employee/volunteers
Online Volunteers ABC Nonprofit provides life skills and mentoring services to middle and high-school aged children. ABC maintains a MySpace page for its teen groups. A volunteer administrator operates the MySpace site.
Online Volunteers Protect participants privacy and personal information Prevent opportunities for abuse or exploitation Have a process to report problems
This presentation also incorporates materials prepared by DLA Piper LLP and the Lawyers Alliance for New York for the Pfizer Strategic Thinking for Not-for- Profit Executives series.