Should employment practices liability insurance that covers “work-related harassment" specifically mention sexual harassment?
Our agency uses a form for employment practices liability insurance that covers “work-related harassment" but does not specifically mention sexual harassment.
SECTION VIII – DEFINITIONS
G. "Injury" means injury to your "employee" arising out of one or more of the following offenses:
7. Work-related harassment;
Nowhere in the form is there any exclusion of “sexual harassment," and there is no definition of work-related harassment. However, some of our other carriers' forms specify sexual harassment.
Q: Does work-related harassment include sexual harassment?
Response 1: I agree that the term “harassment" is broad and would include all types of harassment. Since sexual harassment often includes allegations of sexual misconduct, physical harm, touching, assault or battery, you also want to watch for bodily injury or assault and battery exclusions.
Response 2: Did you ask the insurer about the coverage you seek? There might be coverage. It depends on the claim. Sexual harassment could be subject to a criminal and malicious acts exclusion. There is a difference between a hostile workplace, bullying or discrimination because of gender or sexual orientation versus sexually harassing someone.
I would not rely on this endorsement to cover my clients. I would offer proposals for a true EPLI policy that provides clearer, broader coverage and would offer better continuity of coverage over the course of time.
Response 3: I think “work-related harassment" is broad enough to include sexual harassment and trigger the insuring agreement.
More importantly, what does the carrier say? What we think means absolutely nothing if the carrier says sexual harassment is not covered. You need to get the insurer's position on it and if they think it's not covered, you need to broaden the coverage or look elsewhere.
Response 4: The definition of “discrimination" includes violation of a person's gender or sexual preference. Work-related harassment includes employment-related libel, slander, invasion of privacy, defamation or humiliation; or other work-related verbal, physical, mental, or emotional abuse arising from “discrimination." I think that's where the coverage is found.
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