EPL Risk Management: Alleviating Workplace Bullying
In a poll recorded by the Workplace Bullying Institute earlier this year, it was found that only 28% of the American workforce said that they were unaware of any type of bullying going on in their workplace. The rest said they had either been bullied themselves, or have witnessed and/or are aware of bullying within their company. Workplace bullying is a serious problem in this country, and unfortunately it goes unnoticed by many employers. However, it’s imperative that your clients be aware of this issue, as it affects all types of businesses and could potentially lead to a costly Employment Practices Liability (EPL) claim.
When it comes to EPL risk management, employers should ensure that they are treating all their workers fairly. Businesses nowadays are often facing allegations from employees for racial and religious discrimination, sexual harassment, FMLA violations, unfair pay, and other significant claims. While it may seem easy enough for your clients to avoid these types of claims, bullying from other coworkers presents another issue all together.
For example, if an employee were to verbally tease another for the way they were dressed or certain beliefs they had, their employer could find themselves facing an EPL claim for religious discrimination. Or even if an employee constantly flirted with another who did not appreciate the advances, the company could find itself facing a sexual harassment claim.
So what can your clients do about this? A good first step for any employer is to make bullying policies and reporting procedures as clear as possible. A sample of this could be a policy that defines workplace bullying as “behavior that harms, intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliate an employee, possible in front of other employees, clients, or customers”, and having repercussions for any worker who is found to have bullied another.
Many efforts are currently being made to create laws that provide remedies for workplace bullying, such as the “Healthy Workplace Bill”. While laws such as this can certainly help to improve the situation, critics state that they could potentially increase the amount of lawsuits that the average employer sees. With this in mind, it’s important that all of your clients have an EPL Risk Management plan in place, and EPL insurance, should they face a claim anyway.
At PL Risk, we understand how important it is to address the needs of employees, in order to mitigate loss that may result from an EPLI Claim. We invite you to take a look at each of our programs, and discover more about how we can help meet your clients’ needs. Please give us a call at (855) 403-5982.