This policy is designed to enable the University to accept volunteers, reduce volunteer risk and protect the interests of the University, its volunteers, and the community it serves.
A “University volunteer” is defined as any uncompensated individual who is authorized by a University department or unit to perform humanitarian, charitable or public services on behalf of the University, or to gain personal or professional experience in specific endeavors.
Any individual is eligible to serve as a University volunteer, subject to the following eligibility requirements:
- The individual must have adequate experience, qualifications, and training for the task(s) he or she will be asked to perform as a University volunteer;
- A current employee may not serve as a University volunteer in any capacity in which he or she is employed at the University, or which is essentially similar to or related to the individual’s regular work at the University. A current employee may volunteer for special events, such as United Way events, Commencement, and the like.
- University volunteers may not replace employee positions or impair the employment of a University position;
- An individual who is under the age of eighteen (18) may only become a University volunteer with the written consent of a parent or legal guardian; and
- An individual who will be working with sensitive populations or who will have unsupervised access to cash, checks or other forms of liquid assets for the University may only become a University volunteer after the completion of a satisfactory background check. Human Resources will perform the background check upon request of the sponsoring department or unit and after receipt of a consent signed by the potential volunteer. The sponsoring department or unit is responsible for the cost.
- “Sensitive populations” are individuals under 18 years of age, patients receiving care in any clinical setting, and other individuals entitled to enhanced supervision or protection based on University practice or State or Federal law.
- “Unsupervised” means that the volunteer will, for any period of time, have access to liquid assets of the University without the physical presence of a supervising University employee.
4.Responsibilities and Rights
University volunteers shall abide by all University policies and external laws and regulations that govern their actions including, but not limited to, those relating to ethical behavior, safety, confidentiality, protected health and student information, computer use, financial responsibility, and drug use.
University volunteers are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and are not considered University employees for any purpose. Therefore, University volunteers are not eligible for compensation or any University benefits as a result of their volunteer association with the University.
University volunteers are prohibited from performing any of the following activities in the course and scope of their authorized activities:
- Operating heavy equipment;
- Operating University or State-owned vehicles (including golf carts) except with the express written permission of a University official;
- Working with hazardous materials, including stored energy (e.g., steam, electricity, hydraulics); and
- Entering into any contract on behalf of the University.
4.2Liability and Indemnification
University volunteers who are acting within the course and scope of their authorized activities on behalf of the University are covered by the Defense of State Employees Act. This means that the State accepts legal responsibility for the torts committed by University volunteers that occur within the course and scope of their authorized volunteer activities, to the extent permitted by law. Additionally, and, at the discretion of the North Carolina Attorney General, the State may agree to defend and indemnify the University volunteer in the same manner as if the University volunteer were an employee of the State of North Carolina.
Subject to exclusions and policy limits, volunteer liability, accident, and excess automobile liability insurance is also available for purchase by sponsoring departments or units to help protect the volunteers, the department budget, and the University. The University recommends that sponsoring departments and units consider the nature of the volunteer’s activities and whether those activities warrant purchase of insurance. The Office of Enterprise Risk Management will assist departments and units desiring to purchase the insurance. Note that no volunteer is covered by this insurance until it is specifically purchased on their behalf and they are identified to the insurers.
5.Sponsorship, Supervision and Documentation
All University volunteers must be sponsored, supervised, and documented by their sponsoring University department or unit. Consistent with the University Policy on Discriminatory Conduct, University employees shall not illegally discriminate against volunteers on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, military veteran status, political affiliation or sexual orientation.
When engaging the services of an eligible University volunteer, it is the department’s or unit’s responsibility to make sure that the volunteer meets all of the eligibility requirements under Eligibility and to adhere to the following procedures:
- Document the names, addresses and contact information of those persons who are authorized to perform volunteer service and the dates of that service. A brief description of the volunteer’s duties should also be given. The documentation should be maintained for three (3) years within the appropriate department or unit; and
- Ascertain whether the volunteer is at least eighteen years of age by reviewing appropriate proof of age presented by the volunteer. As noted above, written consent of a parent or legal guardian is required if the individual is under eighteen years of age.
- Determine whether the University volunteer has completed a background check as appropriate, i.e., for all University Volunteers who will be working with sensitive populations and those who will have unsupervised access to cash, checks or other forms of liquid assets for the University. Volunteers who do not agree to criminal background checks in such assignments may be refused an assignment.
- Provide appropriate orientation for University volunteers prior to commencing services, including review and explanation of relevant University policies and departmental or unit procedures and any safety concerns.
A University volunteer’s service may be terminated at any time and without prior notice.
Comments or questions? Email the Policy Administrator.