Business owners and executives – especially those who run small and medium-sized enterprises where rules and procedures are more lax compared to larger corporations – are more vulnerable than ever in the day-to-day operation of their businesses.
As a result, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) has become more prevalent in the work world of today.
Following are some examples where EPLI would help:
- A male employee is discriminated against because of his sexual orientation.
- A female employee is harassed because she is pregnant with her fifth child.
- A co-worker is berated because of a disability and feels that he has suffered emotional distress.
- An employee sues over what she feels is a wrongful termination because she was ready to retire within a year.
- A delivery person files a suit because he feels sexually harassed while at your place of business.
- A long-term employee sues because she feels she should have been promoted to a high-ranking position.
Should a claim arise of the nature listed above, EPLI coverage would provide for the investigation and defense of the claim as well as provide a limit of insurance should a judgment be made against a business.
Steps can be taken to prevent and minimize the instances of these types of circumstances.
- Management at all levels should make a very clear, strong and consistent statement to everyone in the company that there is a zero tolerance level for any behavior that makes another employee uncomfortable. This can be done through the employee manual and seminars on harassment in the workplace.
- Management should implement and communicate a procedure that makes employees feel safe to report a situation that may make them feel uncomfortable. Implement an open-door policy between management and employees to keep the lines of communication open and free from anxiety.
- Management should communicate with the person making the claim to let him or her know that his or her statement is being taken seriously. An action plan should be created to investigate all complaints, and discipline and potential termination of the offending parties should be undertaken.
- Management should ensure executives are adequately insured. Up to $1 million in coverage can be included on a business owner’s policy for a minimum premium. Higher limits can be quoted as part of the general liability policy or even its own separate policy. Not all insurance carriers offer the same coverage and deductibles.
For more information contact your insurance agent or Patrick Myers at MG Myers Insurance (email@example.com) at MG Myers Insurance (www.mgmyers.com).
Source: Business Success, November 2011, MG Myers Insurance, www.mgmyers.com.