In the U.S., laws and ordinances are created to help protect people from each other. Though, at times, loopholes and misinterpretations of the laws can work against some of the very citizens that are supposed to be protected.
Legislation and Employees
When you own a business, you must be mindful of many different legislative acts including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Civil Rights Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you aren’t familiar with them, you could unknowingly violate them.
Remaining in compliance doesn’t offer bullet-proof protection from a lawsuit brought on by a disgruntled former or would-be employee. Employees who have been terminated for cause can file wrongful terminations suits, and applicants for employment who were turned down in favor of more qualified candidates can sue for discrimination.
Whether your actions are interpreted as in violation, or actually in violation, you could find yourself involved in an expensive and time consuming lawsuit in which a current or former employee accuses you of harassment, discrimination, emotional distress, or some other specific violation.
With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stating that 2010 brought about the most employment discrimination charges since its inception in 1965, there is no question that employee lawsuits against your business are moving from the realm of possible to probable.
Protecting Yourself and Your Business
Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) can reimburse you for the costs of defending a lawsuit whether you win or lose. That includes your attorney’s fees as well as court costs. Your policy may also pay for certain judgments and settlements, although punitive damages and criminal fines will likely be excluded.
While suits related to violation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) among others may be excluded, many of the legislation covering harassment and discrimination, which make up the bulk of claims, are covered.
There is no way you can be fully absolved of risk of ever being sued. You can be a careful employer with a set of fair employment screening practices, anti-sexual harassment and discrimination educational materials, as well as perfect employee documentation and still get dragged into court over a hurt or angry former employee with an unsubstantiated claim. Having an EPLI policy to pay the charges that this can create will help keep your business unscathed by the event.
To get your New Hampshire EPLI policy and protect your business, call us today at (603) 875-1200. We work with insurers who specialize in this coverage and who can help ensure that your company is insulated from the expenses these claims can bring.