Are we allowed to have volunteers work at the chapter house?
We recently had a claim reported whereby the son-in-law of the House Director was injured while doing some maintenance work for the chapter. This type of practice is concerning for two reasons: (1) If you have “volunteers” perform any type of work for you at the chapter house, it is incumbent upon you as the property owner to make certain they understand that it is at their own peril. Thus, if they are injured while performing this work, it is the expectation of your insurance company that any medical expenses will be borne by the individual. In all likelihood, they would need to then turn to their own health insurance provider. (2) Many states have very rigid expectations of someone performing any type of work on your behalf, and this could elevate them to the status of an employee and subsequently you have both tax and insurance requirements to deal with.
We certainly understand the convenience and interest of using volunteers to help out at the chapter house; however, it is important that you understand the extent to which this can complicate and ultimately impact your insurance coverage. We urge you to consider hiring out those tasks, which are likely to create a bigger risk to injury to the individual and/or put the property itself at peril. Feel free to contact us with any further questions that may arise on this subject.