Nicely dressed young woman sitting sadly with her head leaning against her folded hands.

Are You Covered When an Employee Claims Harassment, Discrimination?

You probably never want to imagine a situation in which an employee, a former employee or an employment candidate sues your business for sexual harassment or discrimination (on the basis of, for example, age, sex, race or disability). Unfortunately, though, it does happen. Sexual harassment has been in the news media spotlight a lot lately, following allegations of inappropriate behavior made against celebrities and public figures.

These days, hiring, firing and day-to-day employee management can be risky business. Responding to charges like these can cost thousands of dollars, even when allegations are found to be groundless. Many business owners may not realize—or may realize too late—that they have a gap in their insurance coverage.

Are you covered?

You can help protect your business by adding Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage to your business insurance policy. Most standard EPL insurance policies offer a measure of protection against lawsuits brought against your business by employees alleging wrongful acts (sexual harassment or discrimination) or wrongful termination. You can purchase and add the coverage to your business policy as an endorsement.

Businesses that routinely deal with the public may also want to consider third-party EPL coverage, which covers harassment and discrimination liability claims against employees by nonemployees—typically customers, clients and vendors.

EC Cooper’s EPL coverage is provided through Erie Insurance’s via Hartford Steam Boiler and is serviced by a team of professionals experienced in handling these types of claims.

How to help prevent a problem.

In addition to checking on your insurance coverage, you also need do all you can to prevent claims in the first place. Businesses should have harassment and discrimination policies in place and conduct employee training routinely.

EC Cooper customers have special access to loss prevention information through a website from Hartford Steam Boiler and a legal advice helpline managed by an employment defense law firm. The website has an extraordinary number of resources, including sample employee handbooks, policies and checklists and a library of online training programs. If a covered claim occurs, EC Cooper Erie customers also have access to claims professionals and attorneys who have experience with these sensitive matters.[1]

One of our EC Cooper reps can tell you more about the benefits of the EPL insurance coverage and the resources available, as well as provide you with a quote.

[1]Coverage and associated services provided under an arrangement with The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. Coverages, benefits, limits and deductibles will vary. Conditions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Refer to our disclaimer for more information. Talk to an EC Cooper agent for state specific policy information.

This article is republished with permission from Erie Insurance,  Written by Carolyn Sennett and originally published on Erie Sense, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.