What the heck is going on in the world? Employers are feeling like this is a game of whack a mole with employee issues. One gets solved, the next one pops up. Even Google employees took a full day to walk off the job in protest—by the thousands—all over the world. What has happened to our world?
This apparently is not something new. What is new is the social media interaction that allows people to realize that they are not the only one with a problem of being harassed. That gives them strength to come forward, possibly even some opportunistic situations, but likely not, in most cases.
Employees have become aware that there are workplace issues, and are beginning to take action. They are too sensitive, you say? It’s innocent and they should suck it up? Unfortunately, that seems to be a genie that will never return to the bottle. From here forward, the rules have changed in the workplace, and employers will just have to deal with it. As a business owner, you can insure your company against such false claims. Check out http://loyalinsurance.org/ for more information.
For years, workers’ compensation carriers have required that employee handbooks be in place and that they cover employee interactions. Very often, the rules were not observed.
Now the game has changed
Employers will now have to be ever so much more cautious about creating a workplace that is safe and treats everyone equally. That goes for men as well as women. I personally know of a situation where a married male friend of mine was sexually pressured by his supervisor, also a male. This ultimately caused a mental breakdown of my friend. At the time, 30 years ago, there was no recourse for him, but to quit a really good aerospace job.
Even if you are an employer who runs a “clean shop,” treats everyone well, and makes sure that nothing unseemly happens between employees in his business, he may still be accused by a disgruntled employee for something that is not the case. The ensuing reputation damage and legal costs could break the bank. I have personally seen this scenario. What is to be done?
There is a Loyal insurance coverage that has been around for more than 20 years, called Employment Practices Liability Insurance; EPLI. My agency has been writing this coverage for years, but many employers have not wanted to step up and purchase it, because they felt that their house was clean and nothing could happen. “look, nothing has happened in all these years; why would it now?” That could be the very definition of “famous last words.”
As a result of social media, people are more aware now, and that is making it far more likely that something will happen going forward.
What is EPLI coverage?
It has a number of coverages that span many areas. EPLI protects against many types of employee lawsuits, including any type of discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of employment contract, unfair evaluation, inflicting emotional distress. Also, wrongful discharge or termination of employment, whether actual or constructive; improper use of background checks in any employment decision to hire, fire, discipline, promote, or demote; Reemployment Rights Act or other federal, state, or local statute protecting the reemployment of military personnel. What is also covered is the cost of legal fees, so an employer can protect herself if accused.
How much does this all cost?
At one time it was less costly than it is now, but since the two famous Hollywood cases from the recent past, the cost has risen along with the likelihood that more employers could have disgruntled employees. And surprisingly, they seem to come out of the woodwork when a lawsuit is filed.
Is it worth it? As with all insurance, it’s much cheaper to insure than it is to pay out of pocket once there is a lawsuit.
If you are an employer, you need EPLI. It will protect both you and your business in case any employee files a legal case against you pertaining to issues like harassment, wrongful termination of their services, or even discrimination based on race and culture. The coverage offered by EPLI is important to be considered because employees can make false claims against you and your company even when you have done nothing wrong.
Lawsuits pertaining to employment discrimination are one of the most expensive ones to settle. Your business will benefit amazingly from EPLI as it will reduce the potential risks that your business is exposed to because of wrong employment practices. Moreover, businesses that do not follow strict laws related to harassment and employment discrimination can suffer huge consequences. In such a scenario, EPLI stands out as a saviour.
The Popular FedEx Legal Settlement Case 2012
In a recent New York Times article, it was reported that back in 2012, FedEx had to pay around three million dollars to settle a lawsuit pertaining to employment practices. The company faced allegations that it discriminated against twenty-two thousand job seekers at around twenty-four FedEx offices in fifteen states. To understand the problem at hand in a better light, an audit was held for the case.
It was found that four thousand applicants faced discrimination during the hiring process. Around thirty percent out of the six thousand men who had applied were hired. Whereas only nineteen percent out of the two thousand women who had applied were hired. Also, thirty-three percent of the hired individuals were white. Thus, the company was found to be discriminating based on gender, race, and color.
During the settlement, FedEx had to make huge changes in its discriminatory practices. Also, the court ordered the company to offer jobs to the two thousand people who were eligible for the job but were rejected based on their gender and race.
Lessons Learnt From It
It is important to maintain the necessary documents. Without proper documentation, it will be difficult to keep track of the discriminatory actions of your company’s supervisors. You can check whether your supervisors have constantly denied promotion to women or minorities. In some cases, they might not even be aware that they are doing something like that. Thus, it is important to keep your records up to date and notice how the supervisors are working.
Moreover, you also need to make sure that your business possesses the means to survive even after it has suffered a huge financial blow. It will come in handy if any lawsuit is issued against your company due to illegal harassment or discrimination. EPLI will provide you with the financial compensation to deal with legal charges such as the attorney’s fees and other court fees.
The catch here is that you must have availed of the EPLI before the lawsuit is issued against you. Moreover, it would help if you had availed the same at least six months before the case is filed to be eligible to get the financial compensation.