Can is sue for uncompensated volunteer labor that I thought was for a non profit organization but was actually for a personal profit?

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Can is sue for uncompensated volunteer labor that I thought was for a non profit organization but was actually for a personal profit?

My pastor owned a ranch where he

held church services. He made a plan

to build a cattle herd to help the poor. I

thought this ranch was a non profit

organization when I was volunteering

for it. I didn’t realize that the pastor was

essentially using the free labor to build

a ranch for himself. Now there are no

longer church services there, but he

still owns the place and all the cattle. I

put in roughly 20 hours of free labor

there a week. Is there any legal basis

to demand compensation for this

labor?

Asked on February 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Absent a contract, even written or verbal, you have no rights to compensation in this case. The fact that you misundertsood the situation has no bearing on things. Compensation cannot be demanded retroactively (i.e. after the fact).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is legally no basis to seek compensation: you agreed to do the work on his ranch. Even if you did not fully understand the situation, you agreed to work for free when you did not need to; you cannot after-the-fact legally demand compensation. 


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