Tag Archives: Harassment

Workplace Harassment and Retaliation Charges

By Brent Carris

Back in October, in the wake of the sexual harassment allegations levied against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, I.I.I.’s Claire Wilkinson wrote this post about Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). It appears that companies are aware of the risk and are increasingly purchasing insurance, including EPLI, to cover costs associated with sexual harassment lawsuits.

In addition to buying insurance, companies have risk mitigation protocols in place to handle sexual harassment in the workplace. But a study of employee lawsuits recently published by Hiscox, illustrates how the aftermath of sexual harassment complaints can turn into charges of retaliation by the time the employee files a complaint with the EEOC.  According to the EEOC, many of those who complain of harassment in the workplace also face retaliation. Retaliation was the most prevalent charge category, named in 46 percent of all charges with the EEOC.

The Hiscox study also found that employers in some states have a much higher chance of being sued than in others. In Washington D.C. employers have an 81 percent higher chance of being sued followed by Delaware, Nevada and California.

 

Uber Case Highlights Employment Liability Risk

By now you’ll have read the troubling tale of alleged workplace sexual harassment as told by a former Uber employee on her personal blog.

As the LA Times reports, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has called in former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an independent investigation and claimed that the blog post was the first he knew of the incident.

The allegations are a warning to the tech industry and its so-called rockstar culture, the LA Times notes.

The New York Times goes into more detail here.

In a statement issued following a meeting with Kalanick and staff to discuss diversity and inclusion, Uber board member Arianna Huffington said:

“I view it as my responsibility to hold the leadership team’s feet to the fire on this issue.”

This is not the first time that the ridesharing company has been in the hot seat for behaving badly, as discussed in this earlier blog post.

Charges of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination accounted for 26,934, or 29.4 percent of all job bias charges reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2016.

As the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) notes, the number of employee lawsuits has increased in recent years, and any size business is vulnerable to this type of risk.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) provides important financial protection to businesses against claims or lawsuits filed by employees, former employees, or potential employees.

EPLI covers legal costs, settlements and judgments that arise from claims of: discrimination (age, sex, race, disability, etc.); wrongful termination of employment; sexual harassment and other employment-related allegations and lawsuits.

In addition to insurance protection, I.I.I. says businesses should take key steps to reduce the risk of an employee lawsuit, such as creating clear workplace practices on employment practices and educating management and employees.

A recent Insurance Journal article took a look at what to expect in EPLI in 2017.