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Can Oregon Employees Volunteer to Work Unpaid?

Posted by attorney David Schuck

Generally no.

Oregon employee may volunteer to work for their employers. If the employee is doing the same or similar work for the employer, a Court will likely find that the time was work time that must be compensated. Thus, the time allegedly volunteered should be included when calculating wages, minimum wages, and overtime wages. However, if the employee works for a non-profit agency, it could be a closer call.

For instance if working as a book keeper, but also volunteers in the soup line, that is a closer question and will depend on very specific facts. If the volunteer time is not paid, the employer could be liable for several penalties, each of which could equal 30 days of wages. In addition, the employee could sue and potentially recover their costs and attorney fees from the employer.

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