Written by: E Wayne Sloan
Email Wayne: Wayne@buechnerinsurance.com
The headlines have been full of claims made by employees alleging discrimination based on sex, race, age or disability, wrongful termination, harassment and other employment-related issues. Don’t be caught off guard thinking because you’re new in business or because you’re too small of a business that you won’t charged with a discrimination lawsuit. It could happen to anyone! Large corporations typically have employment practices insurance coverage in place and are typically the ones hit the hardest in the news by these kinds of lawsuits, but anyone should be prepared to deal with an employment lawsuit. Most small businesses lack a legal department and/or an employee handbook detailing policies and procedures to guide hiring, disciplining, or terminating an employee. They don’t dictate what is and isn’t acceptable on a day to day basis for operations. They hope that these kinds of lawsuits will never affect them, turn a blind eye and hope for the best. Sometimes small to medium sized business owners overlook getting even a basic understanding of employment law.
It’s critical that even small, medium and new businesses have a working understanding of the law. We understand – you’re busy! You are working 80 hours a week to keep your new business floating off the ground. You don’t have the time to sit down with a textbook nor the funds to invest when you’re getting off of the ground. Living in the United States allows a variety of laws to be in place to protect the rights of people that are working for you and for yourself. Employment Practices Liability insurance is a smart investment (that doesn’t have to be expensive) to help you along.
Being an insurance broker, I work with insurance carriers that have invested and partnered to offer Employment Practice Liability solutions for any sized businesses – even small and medium sized ones, including new businesses.
Below are some employment laws that you should take time to understand:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and sex. It also prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and sexual harassment.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits employers from paying different wages to men and women who perform essentially the same work under similar working conditions.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1966, which prohibits discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship of persons who are authorized to work in the United States.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.
- The Bankruptcy Code, which prohibits discrimination against anyone who has declared bankruptcy.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, which prohibits discrimination against minorities based on poor credit ratings.
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals who are age 40 or older.