#MeToo and EPL Coverage
Since the #MeToo movement started in October of 2017, many powerful predators and employers have been brought to justice and been rightfully punished for not only preying on their employees, but for violating laws regarding discrimination and wrongful termination. While this is a great improvement for people in the workplace, some business owners feel they might be at risk for being sued because an employee might file a suit believing they were terminated or not hired based on sex – a clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In the cases we are talking about, we are assuming no wrongdoing has been done and that these employers were not discriminating because they fear a future #MeToo situation. If those employers are fearing being found out by a female employee, that’s a personal issue.
When it comes to wrongful termination lawsuits, employment practice liability insurance can help cover costs. Employment practices liability insurance, or EPLI, provides coverage against claims of discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and other employment-related issues. Many small or new business usually lack this policy even though they are the most vulnerable. Where large corporations have large legal departments with large EPLI policies, small or new business do not have those tools at their disposal and should purchase EPLI to help protect them.
For the EPLI policy to come into effect, a claim has to be made during the coverage period. This may seem obvious, but as #MeToo has shown us, many people do not come forward until years after the incident occurs. This means it is important to keep your EPLI policy in place continuously if someone were to come back years later claiming discrimination in hiring or wrongful termination.
This is not limited to perceived sex discrimination but also perceived discrimination based on age, race, ethnic origin, disability, etc. The best way to halt these types of suits is to have a clearly established handbook in place outlining how and when an employee can be terminated, and forming your application process in a way that does not take into discriminatory factors into account.
If your business is in need of EPL insurance, do not hesitate to call Horan Insurance at (315) 635-2095 or stop by the office at 136 E. Genesee St. Suite 1 in Baldwinsville, NY 13027.