Using Minors as Volunteers

Using Minors as Volunteers

The responsibility to respond to our members' coverage questions and provide coverage interpretation primary falls on OMAG’s Underwriting and Member Services Departments with support provided by OMAG’s Legal and Risk Management Departments. Providing a clear and consistent response to these inquiries is always our goal.

Our members occasionally ask “May we use minors on special municipal projects as volunteers?  

A person is an employee if they are authorized to act on the behalf of your municipality. It does not matter how old they are, whether they are compensated or a volunteer, or whether they are full or part time. The exception is when an independent contractor relationship exists. 

A minor who performs volunteer services for your municipality can thus create liability. As such, if your municipality is considering using minors on special projects or events or assisting with mowing, trimming or cleanup, at the very least you should be sure that all training and any certification related to the responsibilities of the task have been successfully completed. Additionally, it would be your responsibility to see that any volunteer was properly supervised in the execution of the task assigned. 

Virtually all states set the age of majority at 18, which means people 18 and older are legally considered adults and are subject to all associated rights and responsibilities. Anyone under that age exposes the city to additional risks. For minors under 16, OMAG would refer the municipality to Oklahoma State Statues, Section 72.1 of Title 40 which outlines the types of work minors under 16 may not perform and requires consent of a guardian or parent for all occupations when performed on a volunteer basis. 

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