Employment Practices Liability

June 12, 2013

Employment practices lawsuits can be extremely expensive and damaging to any business. With the healthcare landscape essentially exploding, there will be a growing period of expansion and hiring. And, that usually means more claims in the employment practices liability area.

Since 1997 the average employment practices claim has increased from $35,000 to $200,000. Understanding and complying with employment management protocol, law and best practices helps managers do the right thing and can help minimize an organization’s exposure to employment practices liability claims.

Employment Practices Standards

Preventing employment discrimination from occurring in the workplace means understanding what is expected as an employer and providing employees with resources to enable them to work in a professional environment. Many offices just think that if they continue to treat everyone well, to act intuitively then everything will be fine; maintaining a professional work environment means more than that.

It is having policies and procedures that managers and employees understand and follow. Managers and employees should receive documented training in these policies and procedures — then they can be held accountable if they deviate from any of the established practices. Our insurance carriers can help you understand employment practices trends and your responsibilities as a manager, business owners.

You will want to focus on loss trends and areas of employment practices claims. Below is a summary of areas that account for a majority of claims.

  • Wrongful discharge – 39%
  • Discrimination – 27%
  • Harassment – 16%

To help you control these exposures, there are guidelines to assist you in implementing the appropriate controls to prevent an employment practices claim and to provide your employees with a fair work environment. Employment practices have many nuances that require competent legal assistance and management training. One note: when we reference using an attorney’s services for employment practices, it is strongly advised that you hire an attorney that specializes in employment law and one that practices within your state. Labor laws can vary depending on state laws and venues.

Did you know that besides your actual policy, an important piece to your Employment Practices Liability Program are the Risk Management Services that are generally included with most Employment Practices Liability policies?

This is an area of practice management that goes unattended in many medical groups, you can work with your insurance carrier to teach the physicians, to teach the staff managers how to avoid being named in a liability claim.

Just as with medical malpractice risk management points, there are simple one hour ‘in service’ sessions, online webinars, resources that can be used at no additional cost

Such services can include important and valuable things like:

  • Telephone support such as a toll free “hotline” which you may utilize to pose any employment related questions.
  • Educational webinars, training seminars and audio meetings on a variety of topics. Some topics might be geared to management and others to non-management employees.
  • Web-based support materials including employment forms, samples of job descriptions and performance review forms, etc.
  • Newsletters and emails providing important and changing information related to employment law.

These services are often overlooked by policyholders and yet are a vital piece to your total employment practices program. Inquire today as to what Risk Management Services are included with your policy!