Nonprofit organizations are allowed to use unpaid volunteers, as long as the volunteers’ work is part of the nonprofit activities of the organization. If, however, a nonprofit organization also runs a commercial business, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that those working in that business be classified as employees and be paid minimum wage and overtime.
An Ohio televangelist allegedly ran afoul of that rule when he used unpaid volunteers in a for-profit buffet restaurant that his church operates. Now the Department of Labor (DOL) has filed a wage-and-hour lawsuit against the church and its leader.
The lawsuit also accuses the televangelist of a slate of other bad actions: