Job Bias Claims Highlight Importance of Loss Prevention

In today’s litigious environment employment practices liability (EPL) insurance has become a key coverage for businesses.

Earlier this year we reported that some 93,277 workplace discrimination charges were filed with the EEOC during fiscal year 2009 – the second highest level ever.

Economic conditions and employees’ greater awareness of their rights under the law were among the factors that contributed to the near historic level of total discrimination charge filings, the EEOC said.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the number of claims alleging job bias filed with the EEOC in 2010 has continued to increase amid the sagging economy.

For the six months that ended April 30, more than 70,000 people filed claims with the EEOC saying they had suffered job discrimination, a 60% increase in bias claims compared with the same period a year earlier. Not all of these complainants will sue, but plenty will.†

The Wall Street Journal Law blog takes the statistics a step further by advising new law school graduates: “Forget bankruptcy law. That’s so 2009. Employment litigation is where it’s at.†

Meanwhile, the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) reports that employment litigation will continue to make headlines this fall as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to review the largest employment class action in history in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

To prevent employee lawsuits, I.I.I. recommends businesses take the following key steps to educate their managers and employees to minimize problems in the first place:

  • ï  ® Create effective hiring and screening programs to avoid discrimination in hiring.
  • ï  ® Post corporate policies throughout the workplace and place them in employee handbooks so policies are clear to everyone.
  • ï  ® Show employees what steps to take if they are the object of sexual harassment or discrimination by a supervisor. Make sure supervisors know where the company stands on what behaviors are not permissible.
  • ï  ® Document everything that occurs and the steps your company is taking to prevent and solve employee disputes.

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