2,161: Volunteers

Revised: December 2021

A volunteer is any individual who performs a service for, and directly related to the business of, the University without expectation of monetary or material compensation. 

Volunteers are expected to abide by the same university policies and regulations that govern the actions of employees, including but not limited to those of ethical behavior, confidentiality, financial responsibility, and drug and alcohol use.

The department must select volunteers who meet the minimum qualifications to perform the desired tasks. A volunteer assignment can be terminated at the discretion of the institution without notice or cause.  

A volunteer may not perform any work until he/she has completed the on-board process or signed the volunteer agreement form detailing the nature of the work to be performed and the relationship of the volunteer to the University.

Volunteers are not considered employees for any purpose other than workers’ compensation and general liability protection. Therefore, they are not eligible for retirement and health benefits, other than workers’ compensation, as a result of their volunteer status.

Affiliates, generally, are volunteers from another entity that are performing a service for the University. Because they are employees of another entity, they do not receive workers’ compensation and general liability protection.


A person under the age of 18 may only become a volunteer with parental consent.  Minors are not allowed to operate any type of machinery and/or equipment under any condition, unless approved in writing by a Risk Management employee. Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age for employment and/or volunteering is 14 years of age. Any department that will have minors as volunteers will need to comply with the UAM 7,002: Policy on the Protection of Children and UAM 5,500: University of Nevada, Reno Safety Policy: Minors Working or Volunteering in Laboratories. The appropriate documentation needs to be completed and  stored securely within the department.

Employee Performing Volunteer Service

Under the FLSA, a non-exempt employee cannot be both a paid employee and a non-paid volunteer while performing the same type of work for the same employer.  For example, an administrative assistant in the History Department cannot be considered a volunteer if their volunteer assignment requires them to perform administrative assistant duties in the Sociology Department.  Any hourly employee who is entitled to overtime, such as a classified employee, is generally considered to be non-exempt. Students who hold a student worker position cannot also hold a volunteer position.

Volunteer Training

Each department will be responsible for training its volunteers. Training must be completed successfully before the volunteer may begin the assignment. If volunteers will be working with machines and/or equipment they must be provided with the proper protective gear.  If the volunteer will be working with machines and/or equipment, they must be supervised by a trained staff member or experienced volunteer.

Volunteer Screening

As part of the screening process, a prospective volunteer may be asked to demonstrate that he/she is lawfully able to work in the United States. If he/she cannot demonstrate this, then he/she cannot be considered for volunteer service. If the volunteer holds a visa, please ensure that it allows for work in the United States and store a copy securely within the department.

Each department can establish its own screening process that best meets its needs.  Department screening policies must be in compliance with University EO/AA policies.  A prospective volunteer may be required to undergo a screening process to determine fitness for the assignment.  It is strongly recommended that each department develop a description of the volunteer assignment prior to the screening process.  This will assist in determining the experience, qualifications, and training needed to fill that assignment.  Such a process may include, but is not limited to: interview, a background check, fingerprinting, and reference check.  (Departments appointing volunteers to roles for which employees would be drug tested shall use the Volunteer Drug Testing Procedures and have each volunteer comply with the Volunteer Drug Testing Form.)

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

The University is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of a person’s age, disability, whether actual or perceived by others (including service-connected disabilities), gender (including pregnancy related conditions), military status or military obligations, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, race, or religion. Where discrimination is found to have occurred, the University will act to stop the discrimination, to prevent its recurrence, to remedy its effects, and to discipline those responsible.