Matt Lauer. Charlie Rose. Bill O’Reilly. Roger Ailes. Mario Batali. Al Franken. Brett Ratner. Russell Simmons. Dustin Hoffman. Louis C.K. Chris Savino. Kevin Spacey. The list goes on…
Sadly, the headlines keep rushing in, week after week: another celebrity accused of sexual misconduct.
While it’s not entirely clear how all these high-profile cases will turn out, it does lead to the natural question: what if sexual harassment occurs at your business by one of your employees?
Under the federal anti-harassment laws contained in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, there is no individual liability. That means the harasser in work situations can’t be sued under the federal anti-harassment laws.
Instead, it’s you – the employer and business owner – that must bear the risk.
As you and the rest of the country come to grips with the growing risks of workplace misconduct, you’ll be relieved to know that there’s an insurance policy for that. And representing a small percentage of a company’s annual insurance costs, it is well worth the investment these days.
Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) offers protection from employment-related claims that are not covered by general liability insurance and other types of policies. In the event of a sexual harassment claim, it covers the legal expenses if you are sued, the settlement costs should you choose to negotiate, and the monetary damages awarded by a jury if you were to lose the case.
Businesses and institutions with employees that interact directly with the public, frequently meeting with customers or dealing directly with vendors, are also susceptible to third-party harassment claims. These include restaurants, hotels, customer service teams, contractors, transportation workers, real estate agents, legal professionals, country clubs, medical facilities, schools, and religious institutions. Third-party EPLI reimburses your business for court and legal fees, as well as any settlements between the business and the third-party accuser, as a result of alleged wrongful acts.
Last year, there were about 13,000 complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of gender-based discrimination, including claims of sexual harassment. Large corporations typically have substantial employment practices insurance coverage in place and are prepared to deal with just about any employment lawsuit. However, small or new businesses are often the most vulnerable to employment claims. That’s because they usually lack a legal department or a fully detailed employee handbook that details the policies and procedures that guide these issues.
Many business owners mistakenly believe that their general liability policy will cover EPL-related events such as sexual harassment, but they will need the complete employment practices liability coverage for full coverage and protection.
Are you covered? Let us help you find the right business insurance solutions that meet your needs and budget to help protect your business. We are your business, home, auto, and life insurance solutions provider and partner, serving Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Florida, Goshen, Pine Island, Middletown, Chester, Monroe, Newburgh, Orange County, and the Hudson Valley and Tri-State Area. For more information, please contact us at 845-986-1177, or fill out the quote form below and we’ll get back to you shortly!