EEOC’s New Data Shows Startling Facts About Employment Practices Claims
Posted on: March 8, 2018 by Signature Insurance Group
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released their Enforcement And Litigation Data for the fiscal year 2017, in which the agency shared that they received 540,000 calls to their toll-free number, more than 155,000 inquiries in field offices and resolved 99,109 charges.
The most frequently filed charge was retaliation, with 41,097 cases, making up 48.8% of all charges filed. Race, Sex, Disability, and Age rounded up the top five charges filed, with a combined total of 99,347 charges. The agency also received 6,696 sexual harassment charges and obtained $46.3 million in monetary benefits for victims of sexual harassment.
California lawmakers are currently proposing to create a “presumption of retaliation” legislation through an amendment to bill AB 3081, which currently applies to sexual harassment claims, but could possibly open the door to other types of employment practices claims as well. Under the proposed bill, if an employee is subjected to any negative job action within 90 days of reporting sexual harassment, there would be a presumption of retaliation against the employer.
Employment practices claims are more than just an inconvenience for employers. According to the 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits, the average total cost of claims that resulted in a defense and settlement payment was $160,000, and the average duration of an employment claim was 318 days. The average employer’s self-insured retention deductible is $50,000, so without any additional employer liability protection, an employer would have to pay approximately an extra $110,000 out of pocket to settle each case.
As startling as these numbers may be, employers do have avenues to protect themselves from losses related to employment practices claims. Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) is an often overlooked insurance product for businesses but is an essential liability protection for employers. Businesses can also take precautionary steps such as implementing or updating their employee handbook and ensuring policies are clearly worded and in compliance of federal and state labor laws.
Many employers, especially those with smaller businesses, believe that their employees would never sue them, but unfortunately, that is not the case. In times of duress, even the most loyal employees may bring claims against their employer. With current statistics showing that business owners are more likely to be sued by an employee than be involved in a general or property liability claim, it’s more important than ever for business owners to partner with their insurance agent to ensure they have a comprehensive EPLI policy to protect them financially.
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