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Are you covered for an employee-initiated lawsuit?

By Anita Simes, Insurance Advisor, Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.

Employers are finding it more and more difficult to terminate employment or take action against an employee without the fear of a lawsuit, and given recent trends, that fear may be justified.

For instance, total retaliation charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) increased from 29.5% of all charges in 2005 to 44.5% in 2015. And in 2014, the EEOC handled more than 88,778 complaints, filed more than 133 lawsuits and recovered more than $296 million. According to the 2015 Edition of Jury Award Trends and Statistics, the average award for employment practice lawsuits was $87,975 in 2014. The EEOC received 89,385 charges of workplace discrimination in 2015, with more than $525 million awarded, and in 2016 resolved 97,433 charges and secured more than $482 million for victims of employment discrimination.

For small business owners—including physicians—this data raises the question: Do you have sufficient financial reserves to stay open in the event of a lawsuit?

With Employment Practices Liability Insurance, practices can benefit from broad coverage for legal defense, damage costs and judgments arising from employment-related claims. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Disclosure of confidential employee information resulting in identity theft
  • Violation of the Family Medical Leave Act or similar state or local law
  • Breach of an employee’s federal, state or local civil rights

There is no substitute for a strong management and human resources team with procedures in place to prevent a claim. However, employment practices liability insurance is an important way for businesses to limit the impact of these risks on their operations.

To learn how to ensure you and your practice are protected, contact Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance & Financial Services via e-mail insurance@wismed.org or call 866.442.3810.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Medial Society Holdings Corporation or its subsidiaries. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal, financial or clinical advice.

Anita Simes, CEBS, Fellow, Insurance Advisor

Anita has worked in the insurance industry for more than 30 years and has been with Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance and Financial Services since 2008. She specializes in health promotion/group benefits, specifically working with large, self-funded public sector groups, and has served as an expert witness in arbitration/mediation cases with union/management groups. Anita earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a pre-law emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and obtained her Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation and fellowship status from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Wharton School program. She is a member of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

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