Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) on Tuesday introduced legislation essential to protecting local non-profit organizations from burdensome litigation that could pose a risk to the organization’s viability. The legislation, H.R. 2432, the Volunteer Organization Protection Act, amends the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 to limit a non-profit organization’s financial risk and liability resulting from the acts of individual volunteers.
Specifically, the Volunteer Organization Protection Act provides liability protection to volunteer non-profit organizations in instances where the organization did not expressly authorize the harm-producing activity by a volunteer in anticipation of its charitable work. This protection enables a non-profit organization to utilize financial resources, currently allocated to defending costly litigation claims, to instead support the underlying charitable mission of the organization.
In addition, the bill contains provisions that extend governmental immunities to non-profit organizations for actions taken at the request, or on the authority, of a government entity that would be immune if it undertook those same actions itself.
“Local non-profit organizations and their volunteers make our society better by undertaking charitable work that is critical to our communities,” said Chabot. “Often times, this charitable work is in partnership with government entities, and the non-profit organizations should be afforded the same liability protections those government entities enjoy. Without these protections, local non-profit organizations could be forced to file bankruptcy as an alternative to incurring prohibitive legal expenses based on litigation that has little or no connection to their volunteers or employees. By limiting potential legal liability for non-profit organizations, this legislation will help to create an environment that supports and encourages volunteer service and charitable contributions, helping to ensure our communities continue to reap the benefits.”
The Volunteer Organization Protection Act honors the important contribution non-profit organizations make to their communities and their ever-increasing partnership with government entities in responding to those in need. Every day, local non-profit organizations and their volunteers provide wide-ranging services such as health care in underserved communities, disaster relief, educational and nutrition programs for needy children, as well as benefits assistance for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.
The following organizations support H.R. 2432, representing nearly two million of America’s community leaders in all 50 states:
Lions Clubs International; Rotary International; Kiwanis International; YMCA of the USA; Optimist International; Sertoma International; Soroptimist International of the Americas; Zonta International; Ruritan National; Toastmasters International; Y Service Clubs International U.S. Area; The National Exchange Club; AMBUCS, National; Civitan International; Junior Chamber International; and Special Olympics International.