Many in our campus community rely on volunteers to help with specific projects. It is important for you and the volunteer to understand the relationship and the associated liability.
The following information is provided to guide your use of volunteers:
New Hampshire state law (statute RSA 508:17) grants qualified immunity to volunteers of nonprofit organizations. The statute indicates that the volunteer will be immune from civil liability if I. (a), (b) and (c) below apply. Therefore, it is recommended that Departments using volunteers keep a record of such activity. The record should include:
- The volunteer's name
- The dates of the volunteer service
- A general description of the volunteer's responsibilities
- Identity of the Department or program appointing the volunteer
This record may be a letter to the volunteer, a copy of which is maintained by the Department or retained by the BSC.
508:17 Volunteers; Nonprofit Organizations; Liability Limited.
- Any person who is a volunteer of a nonprofit organization or government entity shall be immune from civil liability in any action brought on the basis of any act or omission resulting in damage or injury to any person if:
- The nonprofit organization or government entity has a record indicating that the person claiming to be a volunteer is a volunteer for such organization or entity; and
- The volunteer was acting in good faith and within the scope of his official functions and duties with the organization; and
- The damage or injury was not caused by willful, wanton, or grossly negligent misconduct by the volunteer.
- Liability of a nonprofit organization for damage or injury sustained by any one person in actions brought against the organization alleging negligence on the part of an organization volunteer is limited to $250,000. Such limit applies in the aggregate to any and all actions to recover for damage or injury sustained by one person in a single incident or occurrence. Liability of a nonprofit organization for damage or injury sustained by any number of persons in a single incident or occurrence involving negligence on the part of an organization volunteer is limited to $1,000,000.
- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any civil action brought by any nonprofit organization against any volunteer of such organization.
- Volunteer activity related to transportation or to care of the organization's premises shall be excepted from the provisions of paragraph I of this section.
- In this section:
- "Damage or injury" includes physical, nonphysical, economic and noneconomic damage and property damage.
- "Nonprofit organization" shall include, but not be limited to, a not for profit organization, corporation, community chest, fund or foundation organized and operated exclusively for religious, cultural, charitable, scientific, recreational, literary, agricultural, or educational purposes, or to foster amateur competition in a sport formally recognized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and an organization exempt from taxation under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 organized or incorporated in this state or having a principal place of business in this state.
- "Volunteer" means an individual performing services for a nonprofit organization or government entity who does not receive compensation, other than reimbursement for expenses actually incurred for such services. In the case of volunteer athletic coaches or sports officials, such volunteers shall possess proper certification or validation of competence in the rules, procedures, practices, and programs of the athletic activity.