EPLI – Employment Practices Liability Insurance
The costs associated with employment practice-related claims can be staggering and are on the rise. Employers may face a number of claims and lawsuits over wrongful termination, discrimination, workplace harassment, and retaliation. And a business owner doesn’t even have to be in the wrong to be sued. The right insurance to cover defense costs and damages related to various employment-related claims can be critically important to help protect business assets. The Hartford provides comprehensive and customizable Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) designed to help protect business owners and their businesses.
Unlike some BOP policies, The Hartford’s BOP can help protect your business if your customers, vendors, or business invitees accuse you of harassment or discrimination. Other BOP’s may limit protection to just your employees’ claims against you. To help give you the protection you need – especially if you have a significant amount of customer contact – third-party EPL coverage1 is included for most businesses.
EPLI from The Hartford is included in our Business Owner’s Policy and Private Choice PremierSM package policy, or as stand-alone coverage with The Hartford Employers Premier Choice.SM
If You Have Employees, You Need Employment Practices Liability Insurance
The Hartford is dedicated to helping protect employers. That’s why we designed our EPLI coverage to help businesses not only endure but prevail in the event they face an employment-related claim for acts including:
- Violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Wrongful discipline
- Wrongful failure to promote
- Wrongful termination
A common employee complaint filed centers around wage and hour violations including wage calculation, overtime calculation, and job classifications. Employees file wage and hour lawsuits accusing employers of miss-classifying employment status or miss-communicating an employee’s eligibility to receive overtime. The Hartford’s BOP automatically includes a Wage And Hour Defense Cost sub-limit of coverage as part of its built-in EPL coverage – which is a real plus for businesses that are likely to find themselves exposed to wage and hour disputes.
New hires pose an employment practices liability risk
You’re at risk of an employment claim from the moment you interview a prospective employee. For example, if you choose not to hire the interviewee, that individual could allege some sort of discrimination.
Or, if you hire that person and later fire them due to poor attendance, that discharged employee could claim wrongful termination.
To significantly lower your employment practices liability risk (PDF), consider the following:
- Review potential loss exposures with your insurance agent and purchase adequate employment practices liability insurance.
- Develop an employee handbook detailing your company’s workplace policies and procedures, including attendance, discipline and complaints. The employee handbook should also contain an employment-at-will statement and an equal employment opportunity statement.
- Create a job description for each position that clearly defines expectations of skills and performance.
- Conduct periodic performance reviews of employees and carefully note the results in the employee’s file.
- Develop a screening and hiring program to weed out unsuitable candidates on paper before calling them to interview in person.
- Use an employment application that contains an equal employment opportunity statement along with a statement, that if hired, employment will be “at-will.” This means their employment can be terminated at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all, with or without notice. Also ensure that your employment application does not contain any age indicators, such as date graduated high school, as this could increase your risk for age discrimination claims.
- Conduct background checks on all possible candidates.
- Institute a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination, substance abuse and any form of harassment. Make sure you have an “open door” policy in which employees can report infractions without fear of retribution.
- Create an effective record-keeping system to document employee issues as they arise, and what the company did to resolve those issues.