Traditionally, volunteers donate their time to nonprofit groups, like the American Red Cross, without an expectation of being paid. Such true volunteers aren't covered by wage and hour requirements of federal or state law.
But what about so-called "volunteers" at for-profit companies? This is a relatively new legal puzzle and can pose risks for employers.
How? Employees may offer to work "off the clock" at your company to get in on special projects, earn training or demonstrate their commitment. Or may-be friends of the company volunteer their time to gain a reference or simply to grab a benefit, like discounts on products.
In today's economy, such arrangements can be attractive. But don't jump on the bandwagon without clearing a few legal hurdles.
Volunteering at for-profit organizations is generally frowned upon under the Fair Labor Standards Act ((register to read more)). And the practice has spurred some new legal challenges. ...