The Italian legal system presumes that any kind of work activity performed be renumerated, but it does not exclude the possibility that some work activities are carried out for reasons of “affection or benevolence”. Those who claim for an exception based on the atypical nature of the employment relationship must meet a rigorous standard for the burden of proof regarding the exceptional motivation of the employer. However, there are cases in which identifying this motivation proves to be particularly difficult. This is evidenced in the case of the services rendered by members of the Damanhur Community Federation, in compliance with the general principle according to which work has spiritual value and is an instrument of “giving of oneself to others”. The paper begins from the examination of a complex legal dispute involving a former member of Damanhur who made financial claims against the community for work performed there over the approximately twenty-five years of her stay. The intention is to highlight how the current legal system is unable to adequately regulate such complex realities, where a group of people who share a spiritually oriented life project establish a voluntary organization intended to guarantee its members mechanisms of solidarity and mutual help.
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