State Administrative Manual (SAM)

0334 Volunteers in State Service

Volunteers in State service should be treated like contract employees and a contract should be processed. If the volunteer is treated like an independent contractor, then see SAM 0320. If there is a question as to whether or not the volunteer is or should be treated like an independent contractor, contact the Risk Management Division or your Deputy Attorney General.

If the volunteer is not an independent contractor consider the following legal ramifications of using volunteers in programs directed by public agencies:

  1. Most persons who volunteer their services and participate in a program sponsored by the State of Nevada are not automatically covered by worker's compensation coverage. Certain types of "volunteers" are specifically defined by law to be "employees" and must be covered. (NRS 616A.160 Volunteer Peace Officers)
  2. Volunteers MAY be covered by Workmen's Compensation under NRS 616A.130 
    • "The process of discretionary coverage under NRS 616.067 is a two-step process by design. Initially, an insurer must make a determination that such volunteers are to be ‘deemed’ employees, and secondly, the employing organization must elect coverage and comply with the provisions of Chapter 616 of NRS." (AGO 80-15) Applications for volunteer coverage can be obtained by calling Risk Management.
  3. When a volunteer is covered under workers' compensation the State "is relieved from other liability for recovery of damages or other compensation for those personal injury, unless otherwise provided by the terms of Chapters 616A to 616D, inclusive, of Nevada Revised Statutes otherwise provided." (NRS 616B.612)
  4. The State may be liable for the negligent acts of its volunteers who injure third parties. 
  5. The Attorney General may be responsible for defending a volunteer who is sued in civil proceedings relating to that person's voluntary service.
  6. In most cases, the State will be liable and the volunteer will be entitled to a defense if the alleged wrongful act of the volunteer was done under the direction and control of the State, in good faith, in furtherance of the State's business and within the course and scope of the public duty assumed by the volunteer.