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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.

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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:

1 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.

2 Topics  Ending the Relationship with Volunteers  Volunteer Handbooks and Policies  Insurance  Managing Volunteers  Risks to Volunteers

3 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.

4 “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?

5 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.

6 Volunteer Drivers  Driving records for all volunteers whose duties include driving may be obtained from the DPS.

7 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

8 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

9 Volunteer Handbook  Welcome message  Mission and history of organization  Volunteer expectations- Operational  Volunteer rights and responsibilities  Prohibited behavior conduct  Code of conduct  Training

10 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

11 Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities  Confidentiality  Proprietary information  Representing the organization to others  Inappropriate conduct  Use of computers/  Contacting clients or other volunteers

12 Volunteer Code of Conduct  Attendance and punctuality  Technology-related policy  Copyright/ownership issues  Maintenance of volunteer files  Documentation of expenses

13 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

14 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

15 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

16 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.

17 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.

18 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.

19 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

20 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

21 Managing Volunteers  Assign volunteers to suitable positions.  Supervise volunteers.  Evaluate volunteers periodically.

22 Managing Volunteers  Orientation  Introduction to the organization  Provides overview of the volunteer requirements  Sets expectation of volunteers  Important contacts

23 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.

24 Risks To Volunteers

25 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

26 Limiting Liability  Insurance  Waivers of Liability  Youthful Volunteers

27 Preventing Harm  Training  Client confidentiality  Safety  Equipment  Seatbelts  Supervision  Harassment  Screening  Employees, other volunteers

28 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.

29 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

30 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

31 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.

32 Online Volunteers  Protect participants privacy and personal information  Prevent opportunities for abuse or exploitation  Have a process to report problems

33  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.


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