As accusations and harassment cases continue capturing headlines in 2018, a new best practice for businesses and organizations is emerging: investing in an employment practices liability insurance policy.
In an ideal world, workers’ legal rights would never be violated. But in the real world, while your clients can control factors such as human resources and hiring policies, they can never truly guarantee the actions or words of their employees. In the current climate, it would be ill-advised for them to simply hope their employees always follow the rules and that they never have to face a related claim.
Now is the perfect time for agents to encourage their business clients to proactively protect themselves against the ever-growing possibility of a lawsuit by including EPLI in their 2018 coverage.
As an agent, you should always look for ways to strengthen your existing customer relationships and provide value to customers. One way you can do this is by explaining how EPLI fits into the bigger picture of a client’s employment practices protocols and the larger context of their business. Start by sharing these four risk management steps:
Step 1: Suggest they review their hiring and screening processes. The minute they post a new job or start screening potential applications, your client opens themselves up for discrimination lawsuits. Encourage them to double-check that all their policies follow federal hiring guidelines, and that their protocols ensure equal opportunity for all applicants.
Step 2: Advise that they review their existing protocols and establish clear corporate policies regarding workplace expectations. They should make sure to clearly communicate these policies to employees and make them easily accessible.
Encourage your client to consider requiring each new employee to sign a contract during the onboarding process that states they have seen and agree to adhere to the workplace policies. It is also prudent to have an established procedure when reporting an issue with a colleague or manager.
Step 3: Stress the importance of documenting everything. From applicant screening to promotions, your client should keep a paper trail to reflect all decisions and rationales. They should also record any and all complaints employees bring to them. These documents could help eliminate confusion and play a large role in disputing claims.
Step 4: Encourage them to talk to you about adding EPLI to their 2018 insurance coverage. Because many customers don’t understand the full extent of claims coverage, it’s important to stress the number of different employee lawsuits EPLI can protect your customers from. For example, they may know it covers sexual harassment, but not that it also offers protection regarding wrongful discipline or wrongful infliction of emotional distress.
Regardless of how the case turns out, an EPLI policy would reimburse them for the legal costs, as well as the costs of judgements and settlements. It’s always better to be ahead of the eight ball than behind it.
Remmie Butchko is CEO of Georgetown Insurance Service in Silver Spring, Maryland.