Common Employment Lawsuits Spurred by COVID-19

Scott Jones
Scott Jones
employment lawsuits

New regulations are being implemented to protect potential victims within the employment world, and the employment practices liability market is feeling the impact. With divided laws between states and the ramifications of COVID-19, it is a perfect storm for the Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) market. The pandemic is continuing to change the workspace, which consequently has effects on employment laws. Under an EPLI policy, things such as discrimination, sexual harassment, and pay equality claims are covered. These types of employment lawsuits are becoming more frequent and severe as the current trends are continuing to put pressure on it.

The Root Cause

As more companies reopen their doors and encourage employees to return to work, this raises the risk for lawsuits against the employer. Many business owners now realize the higher risk of liability. When employees start coming back to work, the employers must assess how employees are being selected to come back to work and the accommodation policies for those unable or not comfortable to return. Retaliation claims are at an all-time high, as the pandemic has caused many of these claims to be made by health care workers who were being fired after their claims of lacking personal protective equipment. This phenomenon is only going to continue as employees are encouraged to come back to work when they are not comfortable doing so. 

The Future of Employment Laws 

Insurers are now inquiring about a business’s continuity plan. Are your policies and procedures properly updated in terms of this new way of operating? Are you staying up on diversity initiatives and offering harassment and discrimination training to your staff? These initiatives can greatly strengthen your positioning in today’s world. Insurers want to know that you are considering these issues. 

Terms and conditions are inevitably evolving to keep up with the times, so it is smart to discuss your protective measures sooner than later to determine your safety plans. EPL claims related to COVID-19 can easily hit a wide range of employment practice areas. There are now many claims alleging employers did not implement proper methods to avoid health risks for their staff and allegations that employers discriminated against employees with COVID-19 concerns. If you have staff returning to work, reevaluate your insurance policies, ensuring that your coverage can respond to COVID-19-related EPL claims.

The Basics of EPLI Coverage

Since there are so many new business operations being implemented, the safety of the business must also be viewed from a new perspective. It is crucial to keep in mind that COVID-19-related EPL claims will depend on the policy’s specific provisions and the EPL claim facts. Speak with your agent to ensure that policy language is improved to cover the scope of the new risks. COVID-19 continues to challenge employers in making appropriate health safeguards and protections. Since EPL claims involve “wrongful” employment-related acts or practices, it is smart to review your policy to protect yourself from employment status claims, discrimination claims, privacy rights claims, and negligence claims. Speak with your agent today to secure EPLI insurance and protect your business from allegations brought forth by employees. 

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