Most volunteer activity in and around Sacramento takes place with not-for-profit corporations. Pursuant to section 3363.5 of the California Labor Code, those volunteers can be given employee status regardless of the fact that they’re not being compensated for their work. It might operate in the best interests of a not-for-profit entity to designate volunteers as employees. Here are the three most common ways of doing that:
- The board of directors of the entity makes a written declaration that volunteers are employees when they’re in the performance of volunteer activities.
- When prior to the time of a volunteer’s injury, the entity has purchased accident and liability insurance coverage.
- A resolution is adopted by the board of directors of the entity to provide workers’ compensation benefits to volunteers, and the state fund is notified accordingly.
If a volunteer receives a waiver of workers compensation benefits for signature, that’s a likely indication that the entity he or she would be volunteering for might not have workers’ compensation coverage for volunteers. Assuming that’s the case, an injured person can seek compensation for injuries that were suffered while volunteering by filing a civil personal injury lawsuit directly against the entity that he or she was volunteer for. Personal injury cases contemplate damages that can be far in excess of those allowed by California’s workers’ compensation laws, so it might advisable for an entity to have workers’ compensation coverage for volunteers.