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Policy 4.83

Responsible Official: VP for Human Resources
Administering Division/Department: Recruiting
Effective Date: June 22, 2012
Last Revision: May 16, 2016

Policy Sections:


Emory University recognizes individuals who volunteer and donate their time and services as significant members of the Emory community. These volunteers play a valuable role in advancing the University’s mission to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that Emory University takes appropriate steps to protect its volunteers, while also protecting the interests of the University community.

This policy does not apply to people who are participating in service projects that are organized by Emory (i.e. Emory Cares Day and Volunteer Emory) or other efforts to engage our employees and students in humanitarian and charitable projects. It is intended to clarify the circumstances under which people may perform work for Emory on a volunteer basis.


Emory will not employ anyone under the age of 16 to be a volunteer.  No one under the age of 18 may volunteer in any position deemed hazardous by Human Resources.  These include roofing, operation of hoists, elevators, vehicles, power-driven tools or baking machines, saws or shears, as well as jobs or duties involving exposure to hazardous materials.  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Policy 4.83, Emory Policy 7.21 shall govern minors volunteering to perform research activities in an Emory University research laboratory with respect to age requirements, necessary training and forms, and additional specific requirements set forth in Policy 7.21

Policy Details

Individuals serving as volunteers at Emory University are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and are not considered employees for any purpose. Volunteers are not eligible for wages, compensation, remuneration of any sort, employee benefits, workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.

Volunteers serve at the pleasure of the institution. Accordingly, a volunteer assignment may be terminated at the discretion of Emory University at any time, without notice or cause.

Volunteers are expected to abide by all Emory University policies and procedures and all external regulations that govern their actions.

Retirees, students, alumni, or other individuals, may serve as volunteers at Emory University, provided the following requirements and restrictions are satisfied:

1.      An individual must be at least sixteen (16) years old to serve as a volunteer, or at least eighteen (18) years old to serve as a volunteer to perform hazardous tasks,.

 2.      Prior to performing volunteer services, an individual over the age of eighteen (18) must complete and sign a Volunteer Service Agreement & Release Form and provide the completed and signed form to Emory University.

 3.      Prior to performing volunteer services, an individual under the age of eighteen (18) must complete and submit to Emory University both a Parental Consent & Agreement Form signed by his or her parent or guardian, and a Volunteer Service Agreement & Release Form signed by his or her parent or guardian.

 4.      Prior to performing volunteer services, a criminal background check may be required and completion of all necessary training.

 5.      A current Emory employee may not volunteer in any capacity in which he or she is employed at Emory, and may not perform any service or function which is the same as, substantially similar to or related to the employee’s regular work at Emory.

 6.      An individual performing volunteer services understands and agrees that Emory may terminate his or her service as a volunteer for any reason, at any time, without prior notice or cause.

 7.      Prior to performing volunteer services, an individual must obtain and display or wear any identification required by Emory or the department or unit where the volunteer services will be performed.

 8.      An individual performing volunteer services may not displace a current employee, replace a past employee or position, or impair the employment of an employee holding a position at Emory. An individual serving as a volunteer may not perform functions traditionally handled by an Emory employee, and may not provide services that are substantially the same as those provided by an employee in a paid position. All Emory departments and units are prohibited from permitting a volunteer to perform such functions or provide such services.

 9.      An individual performing volunteer services is required to, and agrees to, follow all Emory policies and procedures, all external regulations that govern his or her actions, and all instructions, including but not limited to safety instructions, given to him or her by Emory employees or others supervising the volunteer.

10.    No volunteer shall be permitted into a department where a supervisory relationship would exist between two relatives.

Additional Restrictions on Volunteer Activities:

1.      An individual must be at least eighteen (18) years old to perform the following activities:

a.      Professional services, such as those performed by accountants, architects, engineers

b.       Services involving any kind of travel

c.      Services involving working with animals

d.       Services requiring access to confidential information

e.       Services involving working with minors, patients, human research subjects

f.      Advisory council participation

g.      Serving as gallery program guides

h.        Serving as public speakers


2.      An individual performing volunteer services is prohibited from performing, and agrees to abstain from performing the following tasks:

a.      Operating heavy equipment including vehicles

b.      Working with stored energy (e.g. steam, electricity, hydraulics)

c.       Performing an activity that is considered inappropriate for an Emory employee

d.      Entering into any contract on behalf of Emory

e.      Working in high containment areas e.g. BSL3, ABSL2, or ABSL3 has to be specifically approved by EHSO.


The responsibility for proper screening and engagement of volunteers rests with the head of the department or unit or his/her designee. The following procedures must be followed when a department or unit engages a volunteer:

1.      Departments or units must prepare a written description of the service to be engaged in by a volunteer. This documentation should be kept within the School or Division and should readily available for review.

 2.      Confirm that the individual seeking to perform volunteer services has submitted all appropriate forms, including the following:

a.     Volunteer Service Agreement & Release Form;

b.      Parental Consent & Agreement Form, if under eighteen (18); and

c.      All other forms appropriate for the particular department, unit or activity (may include immunizations, TB testing and health clearances).

 3.      Determine whether the individual is (a) at least sixteen (16) years old to ensure that he or she is eligible to volunteer

 4.      Determine whether the individual is less than eighteen (18) years old to determine whether parental consent is required.

 5.      Determine whether the individual is age eighteen (18) or over to determine what volunteer services he or she may engage in at the University.  

 6.      Complete a criminal background check before the volunteer services commence, if required.

 7.      Complete all training required for the activity before the volunteer services commence.

 8.      Check with Emory’s International Student and Scholarship Services to confirm that volunteer service is permitted by the individual’s visa status and immigration law and rules.

 9.      Once the above steps are complete, provide the individual performing volunteer services with appropriate identification (e.g., identification badge). 

 10.    Forward copies of all completed forms to the Human Resources office of your School or Division and to Central Human Resources Employee Relations.

 11.   Retain copies of all completed forms for a period of three years after the last date the individual performs volunteer services.

 Questions about this Policy should be directed to Human Resources Employee Relations.


A volunteer is an unpaid individual who freely offers his or her services to Emory University without any expectation of receiving pay, compensation or other benefits, including future positions at the University, in order to support the activities and mission of Emory University and/or gain experience in specific endeavors. 

 An individual who provides services for an entity that is not a department or division of Emory University (e.g., an alumni association) is not considered a volunteer of Emory University under this policy. This policy also does not apply to individuals who volunteer to serve as human subjects in Emory University research protocols. 


A volunteer is an individual who does not currently and did not previously hold a position performing services that are the same as those for which he or she is volunteering, does not displace a current Emory employee, does not replace a RIF Emory employee, and does not provide services that are substantially similar to those performed in a paid position

Related Links

Contact Information

Employee Relations   Del King  (404) 727-7567   del.king@emory.edu 

Revision History