Workplace harassment is not something to take lightly. Businesses all throughout the country can and are getting sued by present and former employers for a variety of reasons, with harassment at the top of the list. It’s for this exact reason (along with many others) that your business needs to have the proper coverage, and this starts with Employment Practices Liability Insurance.
Since harassment, and the claims that follow, are at the forefront of business lawsuits, you should always be covered incase a disgruntled employee has an unpleasant experience. In order for you or your business to be ready for the possible claim threat, here are the top five current harassment trends:
Retaliation is a broad concept. Employees can file a charge of retaliation if they feel they suffered adverse action (demotion, poor job assignments, the “cold shoulder” etc.) because they filed a discrimination complaint with their employer, or because they participated in a protected activity, such as a discrimination investigation.
With more than 500 million active Facebook users and 140 million Tweets sent per day, employers can be sure that their employees are engaging in social networking. 24% of employers have had to discipline employees for activities on social networking sites – and that number is only going to get bigger. Technology makes it is easier than ever for people to lower their inhibitions, slip up and create a permanent electronic trail documenting everything from explicit workplace affairs to clear evidence of sexual, racial, and religious harassment.
According to the EEOC, religious discrimination charges rose 10.7% from 2009 to 2010. The EEOC has filed several prominent lawsuits on behalf of Muslim workers for such violations as interrupted prayer breaks, discrimination based on attire, and slander. The media frenzy around the Muslim religion and the war on terror is continuing to rachet up and the discussions your employees have about these issues, and the opinions they hold, do not get neatly compartmentalized away from your working environment. These extremely risky discussions centering on national origin, ethnicity and religion often lead to severe workplace tensions, productivity problems, and potential claims of harassment.
4. Contingent Workers
Contingent workers are rarely trained on company policies regarding issues like sexual harassment and how to report a complaint. But, according to a study by the University of Melbourne, contingent workers are 5 times more likely to be subjected to unwanted sexual advances, and 10 times more likely to be sexually harassed in their temporary workplace. This can leave their host employer liable for increased sexual harassment claims.
According to the EEOC, the number of sexual harassment claims filed by men has doubled between 1990 and 2009. The most common claims filed are by male victims that have been exposed to derogatory and offensive behavior by other males. The claims cited make the break room sound like a locker room – using power plays to demean and embarrass men through sexual horseplay.
You can never be too careful when it comes to your business insurance policy, so that’s why it is so crucial that you have EPLI. Let one of our knowledgeable staff members help you with a quote or any other questions you may have.