Can For-Profit Businesses Use Volunteers?
by Arina Shulga, founder of Shulga Law Firm, P.C.
It may be tempting for a business that is trying to minimize its operating expenses to accept free help from unemployed persons who are simply looking to get the right experience. However, businesses that are using unpaid volunteers should be careful: misclassifying employees as volunteers and not paying them at least the minimum wage can turn into a costly mistake that can lead to bankruptcy.
Who are volunteers? Based on the Supreme Court decisions and the federal Department of Labor interpretations, volunteers would be those who: