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Donating your time to a retirement home?  Candy striping at a hospital? You may be protected from discrimination and retaliation like any other employee.

In a recent case in the Northern District of Illinois, the Court faced an interesting question as to whether a volunteer who performed services for an organization could sue the company for discrimination and retaliation the same way employees of the company would do.

In Volling v. Antioch Rescue Squad, the plaintiffs were members of a volunteer rescue squad who sued two organizations for sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation under Title VII. After examining several factors, the Court ultimately ruled in favor the volunteers, holding that they could bring their claims under Title VII in the same fashion as an employee.

Specifically, the Court looked at factors including “the skill required; the source of the instrumentalities and tools; the location of the work; the duration of the relationship between the parties; whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party; the extent of the hired party’s discretion over when and how long to work; the method of payment; the hired party’s role in hiring and paying assistants; whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party; whether the hiring party is in business; the provision of employee benefits; and the tax treatment of the hired party.” Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730, 751-52 (1989).

The Court held that none of these factors was dispositive, and instead, looked at the totality of the factors, and as  result determined that the volunteers, overall, were subject to the same type workplace that employees were, thus, they qualified as employees for purposes of the Title VII claim.

If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.


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