Employment Practices Liability Insurance

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1 Employment Practices Liability Insurance What Business Owners Need to Know Right Now A SPECIAL REPORT

2 Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Business Owners Need to Know Right Now Over the years, businesses have found themselves becoming increasingly susceptible to workplace lawsuits many span across a variety of employment practices regarding wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, emotional distress as well as wage and hour law violations. Most often, employment practices liability deals with laws and protections that were established under various acts such as: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Inevitably it is the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) that enforces these laws and ensures that businesses are operating in compliance. It has become a growing trend, within the insurance markets, for businesses to secure employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) a specialized policy that business owners can purchase in order to properly protect their organizations against an array of employee suits. Most importantly, it s critical to recognize that there are both federal and state statues that govern an employer s liability in regards to its employees. Laws differ from state to state which makes it all the more essential to work with a trusted insurance agent, when deciding upon EPLI coverage. What does an EPLI policy typically cover? Commonly, employment practices liability insurance covers losses that would not typically be covered by a Directors & Officer (D&O) policy or General Liability. EPLI is an extremely specialized insurance product, created specifically to protect you and your company in a variety of ways that are crucial in today s highly litigious society.

3 Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Business Owners Need to Know Right Now Your standard EPLI policy provides protection against the following claims: Wrongful Termination One of the most common causes of employee lawsuits spawns from the discharge of an employee. EPLI policies help protect your business venture against claims by former employees; declaring that he or she was wrongfully terminated. Some policies take it yet another step further, providing coverage for claims of constructive discharge, in which the former employee alleges that they were forced to retire or resign due to the intolerable work environment. Discrimination: Comprehensive EPLI policies will also cover accusations made by current, former and even prospective employees who claim they were the victim of employment-related discrimination on the basis of: -Race -Color -Creed -National Origin -Gender -Military Service -Pregnancy -Sexual Orientation -Marital Status -Sex -Religion -Age -Disability -Handicap Sexual Harassment Coverage for sexual harassment claims against your organization including claims made against supervisors as well as fellow employees is most often a part of your standard EPLI policy. Whether it is inappropriate behavior or an off-color remark, sexual harassment claims are one of the more common forms of workplace violations that your EPLI coverage can protect against.

4 Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Business Owners Need to Know Right Now Wage & Hour Violations The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) set the minimum wage and maximum hour/overtime requirements. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor manages the organization and management of the FSLA and it s important to note that FSLA actions are oftentimes not covered without specific employment practices liability insurance policies. In addition to the above coverages, there are a handful of other employment-related claims that potentially can be made against your business. Additional risk exposures include claims such as: Libel, Slander, Invasion of Privacy, Mental Anguish, Infliction of Emotional Distress, Breach of Contract, as well as Negligent Hiring, Supervision, Promotion and Retention. By securing a customized EPLI policy, you can proactively protect your organization from a wide-variety of potential lawsuits saving time and money. How will EPLI coverage strengthen my business? Quite frankly it pays to be protected. In today s business environment where consumers are often quick to sue why risk employee litigation on top of that? Gone are the days where business owners asked themselves, whether or not they will face an employment practices claim rather now the real question is how much will such a claim cost me? It s vital to recognize that an employment practices claim does not simply affect a business financially but it may also result in what is known as soft costs, such as damages to your company s reputation, branding or image, company morale, etc. EPLI is a significant piece of any comprehensive loss control strategy but keep in mind that it is only one component the best way to reduce your employment practices risk is to avoid having them. We can provide resources to help you know where your business may be exposed and how to effectively prevent issues.

5 Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Business Owners Need to Know Right Now What can my independent insurance agent do for me? Once again it s critical that as a business owner, you realize that employment practices liability coverage should be considered your last line of defense. Efficient risk management and a strategic business insurance plan should include training. In addition to securing you the EPLI coverage you need at the most competitive rate we can help point you in the right direction. There is an array of free training resources, literature, and compliance guides from reputable sources such as the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission that can help you better evaluate your employment practices. With the proper training and a customized, comprehensive EPLI policy you can both protect your business and its reputation. For more information regarding Employment Practices Liability Insurance, please visit us online one of our dedicated insurance specialists would be happy to provide you with a complimentary coverage evaluation and a free EPLI quote today! Employment Practices Liability Insurance: Resources

6 Resources EPLI-Specific Lawsuits Your Business Can Learn From Over the past couple of years, EPLI-specific lawsuits have been on the rise. Below you will find examples of employment practice claims made against top companies nationwide see firsthand how you can protect your business, reputation and finances with comprehensive Employment Practices Liability Insurance. $50 Million, Less Attorneys Fees and Costs, Paid to Class Members in December 2005 in Abercrombie & Fitch Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement On April 14, 2005 Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted final approval to a settlement of the class action lawsuit Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch. The settlement required the retail clothing giant to pay $50 million to Latino, African American, Asian American and female applicants and employees who charged the company with discrimination claims. The young men and women who applied to work at Abercrombie should have been judged on their qualification, and not their skin color or gender. The class action settlement compensates class members for being subjected to the challenged practices and ensures that Abercrombie will improve its employment practices and diversity efforts nationwide, commented attorney Kelly M. Dermody. Just months later, in December 2005, the Claims Administrator in the Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch discrimination lawsuit settlement awarded checks to the over 10,000 members who submitted valid claim forms in accordance with the process set forth by the Court in the April 2005 settlement order. Checks ranged in size from several hundred to several thousand dollars in proportion to Class members damages and their contributions to the prosecution of the case. (AFjustice.com; Read More) Employment Practices Liability Insurance: Resources

7 Wal-Mart, $35 million settlement plus sanction to prevent wage and hour violations in July 2008 On July 21, 2009, the Court gave final approval to a settlement valued at up to $35 million on behalf of workers in Washington State who alleged they were deprived of meal and rest breaks and forced to work off-the-clock at Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Clubs. In addition to monetary relief, the settlement provided injunctive relief benefiting all employees. Wal-Mart was required to undertake measures to prevent wage and hour violations at its 50 stores and clubs in Washington, measures that included the use of new technologies and compliance tools. Plaintiffs filed their complaint in Three years later, the Court certified a class of approximately 40,000 current and former Wal-Mart employees. The eight years of litigation were intense and adversarial. Wal-Mart, currently the world s third largest corporation, vigorously denied liability and spared no expense in defending itself. This lawsuit and similar actions filed against Wal-Mart across America served to reform the pay procedures and employment practices for Wal-Mart s 1.4 million employees nationwide. (Lief Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Read More) For more information regarding Employment Practices Liability Insurance please visit us online one of our dedicated insurance specialists would be happy to provide you with a complimentary coverage evaluation and a free EPLI quote today!

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