Case name: Margello v. Parachute & Special Advocates for Children, No. CA2012-08-168 (Ohio Ct. App. 03/25/13).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals held that an advocate was not entitled to workers' compensation because she was not an employee of a county.
What it means: In Ohio, a volunteer for an organization can be considered an employee if a contract for hire exists.
Summary: A volunteer court-appointed special advocate for a county claimed that she sustained injuries in a fall while visiting a client's home. She sought workers' compensation benefits. The advocate admitted that she did not receive compensation or benefits for her volunteer services, but argued that she should be considered an employee for workers' compensation purposes based on the county receiving the benefit of her advocating for clients and the substantial control it exerted over her with regarding to the training she received and the policies and procedures she was required to follow. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that she was not entitled to benefits because she was not an employee of the county.
The advocate argued that she was an employee based on the substantial control the county exerted over her. She listed factors to consider to determine who controls the means and manner of the work regarding labor or services pursuant to a construction contract. The court declined to find that the factors applied to the case, as the advocate acknowledged that her situation did not involve a construction contract.
The court stated that the advocate would be an employee if there was a contract for hire, either express or implied. The court pointed out that the advocate did not receive any compensation for her work, there was no agreement or obligation to compensate her, and there was no evidence that either party presumed an employment relationship existed. The court found there was no evidence of a contract for hire, express or implied, oral, or written.
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July 8, 2013
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