Although many areas have things called volunteer immunity laws, there are areas of volunteer work that present significant liabilities to a nonprofit organization. Nonprofit administrators are generally aware of the need to purchase insurance plans that protect against operational liability, but they don’t always stop to ask “do volunteers need insurance?” There are often exclusions in immunity laws that leave the volunteer or nonprofit vulnerable to litigation and the costs that accompany trying to resolve the situation. As these efforts can be quite costly, the professionals at VIS Volunteers recommend that a strong volunteer protection policy be carried by the nonprofit agency.
One of the areas not covered by immunity laws are situations where the volunteer brings a claim against a nonprofit agency. Here are some possible scenarios where a volunteer policy would be valuable.
- A volunteer is doing errands for the agency, runs a stop sign, hits a vehicle, and paralyzes the other driver.
- A volunteer, using a chainsaw, is clearing property with another volunteer when a piece of debris flies into the eye of the other volunteer and causes permanent blindness.
- A volunteer sexually abuses several children over the span of several years, as adequate supervision policies were not put in place.
- A volunteer alleges that an organization discriminated against her because of her sexual orientation.
- A volunteer slips and falls on the office floor at the nonprofit’s headquarters.