Category Archives: Protection from Liability

Better Safe than Sorry: Nonprofits’ use of Waivers, Releases and Disclaimers

Many nonprofits use some form of waiver or release in their programs. Typically, volunteers and participants are asked to assume the risk of participation and hold the organization harmless if they are injured. However, waivers and releases are not foolproof as many courts do not favor them. Still, they are often successful, and nonprofit organizations have nothing to lose in requiring them.Continue Reading

Legal Considerations When Engaging Volunteers

Potential Liability for Acts of a Volunteer. A nonprofit organization needs to be cognizant of the fact that it can be held liable for the wrongdoing of an employee or volunteer. Under the doctrine of “respondeat superior,” an employer is responsible for torts committed by an employee while the employee is acting in the course and scope of his or her employment. Arizona courts have acknowledged that volunteers may also be considered servants or agents for a principal under doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat Superior is a legal doctrine which states that an employer is responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their employment under certain circumstances. Thus, a nonprofit organization can be held liable for the actions of a volunteer who is acting in the course and scope of his volunteer relationship with the organization.Continue Reading

Worker Classification – Independent Contractors or Employees ?

The distinction between employee and independent contractor lies in the ability of the employer to determine how work will be performed. For identification purposes, an employee is generally considered to be anyone who performs a service for the employer if the employer can control what will be done and how it will be done. In contrast, an independent contractor is someone who follows an independent trade and offers their services to the public. The person for whom the services are performed has the right to control or determine the result of the work, not how that result is achieved.Continue Reading

Three Reasons Better Contracts Can Help Nonprofits – by Lindsey Harris

From protecting your brand to purchasing the goods needed to deliver your mission, contracts are an essential part any nonprofit business. Without solid contracts–the kind you can understand and actually use to protect your organization from broken promises and even litigation–meeting your mission can be an uphill battle. If you’re tired of having the same arguments with vendors and service providers or if you’re unsure of how to protect your brand, here are a few reasons why you should add “getting good contracts in place” to the top of your to-do list:Continue Reading

Liability Protection for Directors and Officers of Arizona Nonprofit Corporations

In the last decade or so, directors and officers have faced an increased exposure to personal liability.  While the bulk of legal actions have been against directors and officers of for profit corporations, judgments against and settlements by directors and officers of  nonprofit corporations are increasing. I am often approached by boards of public charities…