Volunteer performing community service hours proves employment relationship
Salvation Army, 109 NYWCLR 160 (N.Y. W.C.B. Panel 2009).
Ruling: A New York Workers' Compensation Board panel held that an employer-employee relationship existed between the Salvation Army and the claimant, who was performing community service as part of a criminal conviction at the time of his injury.
What it means:
For purposes of New York's workers' compensation law, a volunteer who is performing work for the Salvation Army as community service for a criminal conviction is an employee of the Salvation Army.
In his claim for compensation, the volunteer alleged he was performing community service work and was carrying boxes when he slipped on a plastic hanger, fell down a flight of stairs, and sustained multiple injuries. He did not receive pay for this work. The carrier argued that the Salvation Army "is a distinctively unique organization" and that the workers' compensation law only covers those individuals who are actually employed and paid. In rejecting this argument, the panel pointed out that the workers' compensation law provides that a public or not-for-profit corporation, association, institution or agency shall be deemed an employer of persons who are performing services for it under a section of the penal law in fulfillment of a sentence of probation or of conditional discharge. Relying on that section, the panel found an employment relationship existed between the Salvation Army and the volunteer.
The carrier also argued the injury was a result of the volunteer's work at another job, fixing and selling cars. The panel held there was insufficient evidence to support the carrier's contention that the volunteer sustained a prior fracture of his right wrist. The panel found that the volunteer's right wrist injury arose out of and in the course of employment with the Salvation Army.
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October 19, 2009
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