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Volunteer Protection Act

Responding to the growing hesitance of many Americans to volunteer for non-profit organizations for fear of facing unwarranted lawsuits, Congress passed the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997.

The law makes sure that people who volunteer their services can do so without worrying that their offer of free services ends up costing them in legal fees. The law also provides that Volunteers for non-profit organizations or governmental entities cannot be sued for actions taken during their work for the organization or entity if:

  • The volunteer was acting within the scope of his/her responsibility.
  • The volunteer did not engage in willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights of an individual harmed by the volunteer.