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Volunteer fact sheet

A page within Business Services

This page provides a description of the liability coverage and other important policies for personnel who volunteer at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Appropriate responsibilities for volunteers:

  • A department should not rely on volunteers to perform duties that are typically performed by permanent employees - other than on a short-term basis.  Volunteers should be supplementing the work done by employees, not replacing the need for paid staff

Letter to the volunteer:

  • To avoid any confusion about the terms of the relationship, the department is encouraged to send a letter to the volunteer spelling out the responsibilities, time commitment, whom to contact with questions and information about their volunteer status.  A sample Letter to the Volunteer is available to assist departments with this request.

Insurance issues:

  • Liability protection is provided to all officers, employees and agents of the University under Wisconsin Statute, Section 895.46(1). Volunteers acting under the direction and control of the University and for its benefit are considered agents and thus covered. In the event that injury or property damage is alleged to have been caused by the negligence of an officer, employee, or agent of the University in the course of his/her responsibilities to the University, this statute authorizes the State to defend against the allegations of negligence and, if necessary, to pay any damages that may be awarded. It is important that volunteers acknowledge and report any incidents that could lead to potential liability claims, both to their immediate supervisor and to the UW-La Crosse Risk Management Office using an Incident Report . 

    Volunteers are not covered by worker's compensation. If injured during the course of their volunteer work, they would have the same legal rights as any visitor to the campus to seek compensation if the injury resulted from University negligence.