In the past, Americans faced significant amounts of discrimination and problems in the workplace, but the US Congress enacted several laws to prevent these problems in the future. While the protections derive from the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) remains charged with the duty to monitor and enforce employee protections. However, a business does not possess the ability to control the actions of its employees, which leaves a business open to the possibility of legal action for improper treatment or discrimination. In order for a business to properly protect itself from the possible unlawful actions of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on part of persons within the business, it needs to purchase an Employment Practice Liability (EPL) insurance policy.
An EPL insurance policy guarantees businesses will be able to meet any legal problems or restitution required arising from the discrimination of a person within the company towards another employee. Although the issue of race comes to the mind immediately when speaking of discrimination, EPL policies include protections for other types of discrimination, such as discrimination in employee pay rates, age, pregnancy, religion, genetic information, and gender.
EPL protections encompass the inappropriate physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual realms of harassment that could occur within the workplace. According to information provided by the EEOC, the monetary benefits awards as a result of harassment charges rose from $86.5 Million in 2010 to $97.3 Million in 2013, and without an EPL policy, your business will be on the proverbial hook for this money.
As part of the EEOC’s duty to enforce the rules against the protected, unlawful behaviors, it ensures that employees do not experience retaliation when charges against a business have been filed. For example, an employee cannot be terminated if she experienced a case of sexual harassment, which she then reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In California, the total number of claims per year against businesses for unlawful actions increased from 6.654 in 2009 to 6,892 in 2013, and many of these claims involved multiple allegations for different infractions. With this information in mind, your business cannot risk the financial setbacks of violations in employee protections. Your business needs an EPL insurance policy.