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Employers: Discrimination complaints could be your biggest exposure!

 

 

If you're an employer, you know this all too well:  discrimination lawsuits are on the rise!  In a sluggish economy, laid off and/or disgruntled workers often sue their former employers, claiming discrimination based on age, gender, or race.  And an employee doesn't have to be laid off; thousands file lawsuits annually against their current employers claiming they are subjected to intolerable working conditions.  (Sexual harassment lawsuits being a prime example.)  And these lawsuits aren't cheap; according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the average discrimination lawsuit costs $235,000. 

 

Naturally, as an employer, you should have policies and procedures in place to prohibit and prevent harassment and discrimination.  But just taking preventitive measures doesn't protect you from a lawsuit; in the event you are sued, or a complaint filed with the EEOC, you MUST respond and defend yourself--and without the proper insurance, you must do so at your expense!

 

"But wait," you tell yourself, "I have commercial liability insurance.  I'm covered."  Here's the sad truth:  commercial general liability insurance does NOT cover these types of lawsuits.*  Discrimination/harassment suits from former or current employees are covered under Employment Practices Liability (EPL) policies, and these policies must be purchased separately.  Many studies indicate it's not slips and falls, or product liability, or negligent work, that are a business's largest exposure:  it's discrimination/harassment claims from employees!  If you don't have EPL insurance, contact your agent! 

 

*A handful of commercial liablity policies offer limited EPL coverage (generally very limited), or can be endorsed to provide limited EPL coverage.  If in doubt check your liability policy carefully, or contact your agent. 

 

 

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