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Policy No: 2103
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Last Review Date: 01/09/2023
Next Required Review: 01/09/2028


1. Purpose

This policy defines the guidelines and procedures by which the University of South Alabama (the “University”) may engage volunteer services that support and enhance the mission of the University while reducing risk and protecting the interests of the University, its volunteers, and the community. 

2. Applicability

This policy applies to volunteers engaged in activities with the University of South Alabama and does not apply to students engaged in research programs related to their education, or to USA Health volunteers.

3. Definitions

Volunteer:  any uncompensated individual who is authorized by the University to perform civic, charitable, or humanitarian activities on behalf of the University.  Volunteers perform activities without promise, expectation, or receipt of any compensation, future employment, or any other tangible benefit.

4. Policy Guidelines

To ensure an individual is not an employee for the purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act, all of the following criteria must be satisfied for an individual to be approved as a volunteer:

  • The activities are intended to be voluntary and to be rendered/done without compensation;
  • The services must constitute a bona fide effort of the individual to volunteer for a civic, charitable, or humanitarian purpose;
  • Individuals volunteer their time for their own personal motives, without promise or expectation of compensation, at hours that suit their own convenience;
  • The activities do not displace regular employed workers and are not activities that would otherwise be performed by University employees.

Volunteers do not receive wages from the University in exchange for their participation in the activity, and a volunteer is not considered an employee, agent, or servant of the University for any purposes with regard to this activity. 

Volunteers cannot perform an activity that would otherwise be performed by an employee. Volunteers must assume all risks and responsibilities surrounding the participation in the activity, as they are not covered by any University health, accident, or liability insurance. Volunteers are also not authorized to operate University vehicles.

5. Procedures

Prior to any volunteer activities being performed, the department seeking to engage a volunteer must submit the Release from Liability for Volunteer Participation Form to Human Resources. The requesting department will be notified of the approval status once Human Resources has reviewed. 

If the request is for a non-US Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, after Human Resources review, the Volunteer Participation Form will be submitted to the Office of Immigration for its review.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. If the volunteer is under 19 years of age, both the volunteer and his/her guardian must complete the Release from Liability for Volunteer Participation Form and sign in the presence of one witness.

6. Enforcement

USA employees that fail to follow this policy may be subject to corrective action up to and including dismissal from employment.  Volunteers that fail to follow this policy may be prohibited, temporarily or permanently, from engaging in other volunteer activities at the University.

7. Related Documents

Release From Liability for Volunteer Participation Form