Less Risk for Volunteers
T he Senate approved a bill intended to limit the liability of volunteers of "nonprofit organizations." The Volunteer Protection Act (S 543), passed just two weeks after President Clinton held a national volunteerism campaign in Philadelphia, is intended to protect volunteers from frivolous lawsuits. A similar bill (HR 1167) has been introduced in the House.
Potential threats of legal liability have discouraged many Americans from performing volunteer activities, such as serving on boards and committees, according to the American Society of Association Executives. This bill would limit the liability of volunteers that are
- Acting in good faith within the scope of their duties.
- Properly licensed or certified when necessary.
- Not willfully or wantonly engaged in misconduct.
Two other bills introduced in the Senate and House (S 514 and HR
911) encourage the states to enact uniform volunteer protection laws
rather than make volunteer liability protection a federal law.