Keep close tabs on your head count: Volunteers may be ‘employees’ under Title VII — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Keep close tabs on your head count: Volunteers may be ‘employees’ under Title VII

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Don’t think you have enough employees to be covered by Title VII’s anti-discrimination provisions or other laws? If volunteers help your organization accomplish its work and you don’t count them, think again.

According to a recent 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, even if they don’t receive a paycheck, volunteers may sometimes be included in the 15-worker count for coverage if they receive other benefits.

Recent case: Marcia Bryson first began working for the Middle­field Volunteer Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter and then as an administrative assistant. She alleged that the fire chief subjected her to un­­wanted sexual advances, requests for sexual services and physical contact of a sexual nature. She said he conditioned her job on agreeing to sexual favors.

At the time, the fire department had at most nine employees on the payroll. In addition, a small group of volunteer firefighters received no direct pay. ...(register to read more)

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