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DON’T ASSUME THAT A “VOLUNTEER” IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFIT PURPOSES

All “volunteers” are not denied employment status and entitlement to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Although, volunteers generally are not considered employees and are, therefore, not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits if injured–there are certain types of volunteers that are afforded employee status for workers’ compensation coverage purposes under California law.

For example, some of the specially included categories include:

  • Volunteer police, while on active duty;

  • Any person assisting a police office at the request of the officer;

  • Apprentice and volunteer firefighters while on active duty;

  • An individual who voluntarily renders technical assistance to a public entity (eg: city, county, state) to prevent hazardous events such as fires or explosions. Again at the request of said duly authorized law enforcement or fire officer;

  • Appointed school volunteers, approved by the particular school district;

  • Certain unpaid volunteers for public agencies and certain non-profit organizations–subject to certain requirements;

  • Parent volunteers in a non-profit nursery school program may be so entitled;

  • Trial jurors–if you want to call them volunteers.

Please note that these are some specially included categories of volunteers offered “employee” status. There are certain to be many more instances where individuals are classified as “volunteers” who are not entitled to workers’ compensation coverage, but where the law, under their particular circumstances, determines they should also be afforded workers’ compensation coverage.

When in doubt, check with an attorney who specializes in this area.

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