While you may believe your workplace to be open and nondiscriminatory, the researchers at eBossWatch (well-known for their annual "America’s Worst Bosses" list) regularly find small businesses at the losing end of lawsuits due to the actions of single individuals. Here are just a few recent samples:
- A Colorado city paid $90,000 to settle a suit after a former employee claimed she was retaliated against for filing an internal "hostile workplace" grievance against her former boss.
- A Utah construction company paid a $230,000 settlement due to racism by a boss.
- A Hawaii travel agency agreed to pay $77,500 after a boss "demeaned, ridiculed and harassed" a disabled employee.
- Sexual harassment by a supervisor cost a Florida tomato grower and produce provider $150,000.
Consider that the above amounts are just the final settlements and do not include the expenses for investigating or defending the claims, nor the loss to reputation and workplace morale.
In each of the above cases, the employer was held responsible. One rogue individual can render extensive human resources training and employer policies moot. That is why employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) should be a part of every employer's protection — and not just to pay judgments and settlements. Even if your defense against such allegations proves successful, significant defense costs may be incurred. Don't let one bad apple ruin your entire barrel of business gains; review the adequacy of your EPLI coverage today.
©2013 Selective Ins. Group, Inc. (Branchville, NJ). "Selective" insurers include Selective Ins. Co. of America, Selective Ins. Co. of New England, Selective Ins. Co. of N.Y., Selective Ins. Co. of South Carolina, Selective Ins. Co. of the Southeast, Selective Way Ins. Co., Selective Cas. Ins. Co, Selective Fire and Cas. Ins. Co and Selective Auto Ins. Co. of N.J. Insurers and products available vary by jurisdiction.