Dismissal of Volunteers
The US Supreme Court ruled that participation in a volunteer program is a privilege and not a guaranteed right. The federal government views volunteers as having many of the same rights and responsibilities as paid staff. The most notable exceptions include monetary compensation for work, fringe benefits, workers’ compensation and appeal process. Since volunteering is a privilege, UW-Extension has the right to determine who will serve as volunteers, and the volunteer does not have the right to appeal the decision.
Volunteers can be dismissed (fired) by the local UW-Extension agent or county UW-Extension director for misconduct, failure to perform duties, or failure to follow program policies. The agent should not rush to a conclusion but should seek to discover the facts of a situation and request a meeting with the volunteer (ideally with a witness present). The volunteer should be given the opportunity to respond. A volunteer can be placed on probation or dismissed depending on the severity of the offense, past volunteer contributions, and/or indications that the volunteer plans to continue (or discontinue) policy violations or misconduct. The county UW-Extension director, district director, and/or the State MG Program Coordinator should be consulted. The volunteer should be given a written copy of actions taken and a copy placed in the volunteer’s personnel file.
Presenting oneself as a MGV in an unauthorized role and attempting to implement management/policy decisions that are inconsistent or in direct violation of MG Program policies are considered serious violations. Displays of discriminatory behavior, sexual harassment, alcohol and/or drug use, or possession of a dangerous weapon while on the job will not be tolerated and are grounds for immediate dismissal.