The recent decision of Peter Ryan –v- RSL Queensland (“Ryan’s case”) is an important reminder for all not for profit organisations.
No matter how big or small, where you have volunteers and employees, volunteers will more than likely be able to access the Fair Work anti bullying regime if they are deemed a worker.
In Ryan’s case, the Fair Work Commission opened the door for a veteran’s advocate to bring a stop bullying claim against the Board of Directors of RSL Queensland. The Commission found that because RSL Queensland was a constitutional corporation and Ryan was deemed a worker, the volunteer was free to bring an application for stop bullying. Critically at the time of the alleged incidents Ryan was covered by RSL Queensland’s professional indemnity, accident and sickness insurance used RSL Queensland vehicles and was counted in the statistics of people who voluntarily served in the Queensland RSL.
The Commission accepted this evidence and rejected RSL Queensland’s position that it was merely an overarching governance organisation, because in the words of the Commission, RSL Queensland’s role “went beyond governance to that of a provider…”
The key take aways for all Not For Profit Organisations are: