Employment Practices Liability Insurance rates slightly up

July 02, 2012

If you are on the Board of Directors of your medical group, or medical facility, and you do not have anEmployment Practices Liability Insurance Policy, this should get your attention. Wage and Hour claims are on the rise, failure to promote to the level of shareholder claims are growing and, the simmering volcano of claims about to erupt, social media abuses are starting to generate some sticky underwriting and claims questions. So far, based upon interviews of major insurance carriers specializing, reserved and ready for the onslaught of claims against employers, nothing has happened. No doubt, these will surface. The use of Social Media blurs the lines between business and personal expression. This is unchartered territory for employers, little direction or guidance. There isn't really an intuitive path in this new field yet. We are all, sort of collectively shooting from the hip on policy and protocol governing what statements or usage is appropriate and which are not.

One caution that seems consistent: Listen and read for the side of the National Labor Relations Board opinions and publications, the NLRB is taking a protective position on this issue, looking out for the rights of the employees. Companies cannot crack down on the freedom of speech or the right to gather and take collective action against the employers sometimes unfavorable working conditions. Generally, the National Labor Relations Board is enforcing and lobbying hard to not allow, companies to over reach in their opinion papers. It is acceptable to ask employees to state that their opinions about a particular company (or medical employer) are just that, their own personal opinion. It seems that the guiding principle when criticizing an employer is, state your name, be clear about your affiliations and keep your comments balanced. One company attracted the attention of NLRB's attorneys as it says that all employee expressions on social media must not be misleading and they must be completely accurate. This kind of policy will result in employment practices liability claims inevitably as employees feel stymied in their efforts to affect change, to vent and to call out bad behavior. Not surprisingly, I suppose, companies that are big, endeavoring to grow by new niches and acquisitions might err on the side of social media censorship, it is important to read, take in counsel and allow some of the social noise to play in the background.

A solid employment practices liability insurer will provide the necessary cyber, social media protections for the employer when the company board has acted in its best interest to guard its reputation. Whether it is wages not paid, vacation time still owed, or cracking down and taking disciplinary action against employees 'trashing the company', ourEPLI policiescan protect your assets.