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Volunteers not protected by HR legislation

BY Greg Fletcher
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

In a decision likely to be greeted by a huge sigh of relief for charitable and other organisations, the Supreme Court has ruled that ‘volunteers’ are not entitled to protection under HR legislation.

In the case of X v Mid Sussex Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Claimant alleged that she had been ‘dismissed’ from her role as a volunteer at a local CAB because of her disability.  Her claim had previously been rejected by the employment tribunal, EAT and Court of Appeal.  

While the position regarding the employment rights of volunteers has now been firmly put to bed, employers should continue to exercise however when dealing with ‘volunteers’.  In particular, other than in the most clear-cut cases, employers might wish to take advice on the precise legal status of any staff to ensure that they fall within the definition of a ‘volunteer’ and can’t otherwise claim employment status.

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