Companies and organizations know there are many different risks inherent in having and seeking employees.
For example, though most days it’s business as usual, there are also times when an employer may be accused of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment or other employment-related faults. Accordingly, employers now typically have what’s known as employment practices liability insurance (EPLI).
But ask yourself which is better: Having insurance as protection when an accusation of this kind is made? Or using policies and procedures proactively to create a culture where such accusations are far less likely?
Most would say preventing such charges is better than just relying on insurance to deal with them after the fact, and at Saginaw Bay Underwriters, we’d agree – though not all agents would.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data to determine what kind of discrimination charges are most common. This way, companies and organizations can focus their prevention efforts on the most prevalent issues.
In FY 2017, the EEOC received nearly 100,000 charges of workplace discrimination, securing nearly $400 million in monetary benefits for victims, both in private and governmental workplaces. The most common charges:
• Retaliation: 41,097 (48.8 percent of all charges filed)
• Race: 28,528 (33.9 percent)
• Disability: 26,838 (31.9 percent)
• Sex: 25,605 (30.4 percent)
• Age: 18,376 (21.8 percent)
• National Origin: 8,299 (9.8 percent)
• Religion: 3,436 (4.1 percent)
• Color: 3,240 (3.8 percent)
• Equal Pay Act: 996 (1.2 percent)
• Genetic Information: 206 (.2 percent)
These percentages add up to more than 100 due to multiple charges applying in certain scenarios. This data does not include nearly 7,000 sexual harassment charges, leading to more than $46 million in monetary benefits for victims.
As above, what every company and organization needs the most is a culture that makes things like discrimination very unlikely. Practically speaking, here are some more specific ways to lower your employment practices liability risk, courtesy of Nationwide Insurance:
• Develop an employee handbook detailing your company’s workplace policies and procedures, including attendance, discipline, and complaints. The employee handbook should also contain an employment at-will statement and an equal employment opportunity statement.
• Create a job description for each position that clearly defines expectations of skills and performance.
• Conduct periodic performance reviews of employees and carefully note the results in the employee’s file.
• Develop a screening and hiring program to weed out unsuitable candidates on paper before calling them to interview in person.
• Use an employment application that contains an equal employment opportunity statement along with a statement, that if hired, employment will be “at-will,” meaning their employment can be terminated at any time – for any reason or for no reason at all – with or without notice. Also ensure that your employment application does not contain any age indicators, such as date graduated high school, as this could increase your risk for age discrimination claims.
• Conduct background checks on all possible candidates.
• Institute a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination, substance abuse and any form of harassment. Make sure you have an “open door” policy in which employees can report infractions without fear of retribution.
• Create an effective record-keeping system to document employee issues as they arise, and what the company did to resolve those issues.
• Review potential loss exposures with your insurance agent and purchase adequate employment practices liability insurance.
For even more information, see “Top 10 Employment Discrimination Charges in 2017.”
Contact Saginaw Bay Underwriters to begin exploring ways we can help you prevent and protect yourself against employment-related risks.