Non-Profit Organization-General Responsibilies
Who Should Attend
Prospective and Seasoned Board Members
fulfillment of its mission and involve more of the nonprofit’s community in the nonprofit’s activities? If so, what are the legal implications of using volunteers?
Most nonprofit corporations employ staff to assist in carrying out the mission and activities of the corporation. The nonprofit director should have a basic understanding of the legal risks relating to employees and the responsibilities of the corporation to its employees. Although small nonprofit corporations may rely solely on volunteers to accomplish their missions, most nonprofit corporations employ paid staff to carry out at least some of these activities. The size of the staff can vary from a single part-time employee in a small, grassroots organization to a staff of a hundred or a thousand full-time employees. All nonprofit corporations generally must comply with federal and state laws regarding employees, although some legal requirements may vary depending on the number of employees. Nonprofit corporations often have an employment relationship with the chief executive defined by a formal contract. Directors should be aware of the terms of that contract and the law applicable to that employment relationship. The board of directors may also approve policies and employment terms applicable to other employees. In addition, because a significant number of the lawsuits generally brought against nonprofit directors and officers involve employment-related matters, it is important for directors to have a basic understanding of the range of legal requirements and potential liabilities that may arise in connection with employees. This section will outline some of the considerations and general legal requirements for nonprofit corporations who hire employees.
The law applying to activities on the Internet is still evolving. Lawmakers, regulators and judges across the country are in the process of determining how various laws written for the traditional economy fit the virtual world of the Internet. While this Section is designed to alert nonprofit corporation directors to some of the major legal implications of Internet activity, specific statements may become inaccurate, or less accurate, over time. (For instance, it can be expected that the IRS will make, and periodically revise, pronouncements on many of the topics discussed below.) Nonprofit boards should make sure that their corporation’s Internet activities are reviewed by legal counsel on a regular basis, to ensure compliance with changing legal standards.