Owning and running your business can be both financially and personally rewarding, but there are many inherent risks associated with business ownership. One common risk that many businesses may be faced with at one time or another comes from employees themselves, whether it is a current, former or potential employee. Recently, the news has been engulfed with harassment allegations within businesses, which has created even more awareness within the workforce. As a business owner, you need to know tips to safeguard your business from employee claims.
If This Happens, Will You Be Protected?
Imagine being a retail store owner and your employee, a lady around 60, shows up continuously late, has been written up as a consequence, and has had several complaints from customers that she is “rude.” After being put on a final warning after calling in sick too many times, she calls human resources alleging age discrimination and working in a “hostile environment.” She states that she is being treated unfairly due to her age and now is pursuing legal action against the store. If this type of scenario happens to you, will you have the right type of protection in place to protect you, your business, and assets?
You may have a business insurance policy that you assume covers most everything, but if you fail to have EPL (Employment Practices Liability) coverage added to your existing Oklahoma business insurance policy, you may be faced with a costly lawsuit and financial misfortune. The legal costs of defending charges against you and your business can be exorbitant even if those charges are later dropped. Additionally your name/business may be tarnished, along with your reputation.
What is Employment Practices Liability Coverage?
An EPL insurance endorsement is designed to protect your business against lawsuits and allegations from employees (past, present, and potential) regarding harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination, failure to promote, libel and slander, amongst other accusations. If you are unsure if your existing Oklahoma business insurance policy carries this type of addendum, please call your local Oklahoma independent insurance agent immediately. Without it, your business may have gaps that you can’t afford to fill.
4 Tips to Decrease the Inherent Risks
Running a business also means running into unfortunate and unexpected situations that can jeopardize your financial well-being. Making sure you have the right type of business protection with adequate coverage is vital to the success of your business. Below are some of the ways you can reduce the inherent risks to which your business may be exposed.
- Communicate to your local OK independent insurance agent about the many risk exposures you and your business face so that he/she can ensure you have the right type of business insurance policy in place that protects you the most.
- Implement clear, written policies defining situations such as the hiring, firing, and disciplining of employees and make sure each employee has a copy of the handbook.
- Make sure that all employees fill out AND sign an application that clearly outlines “equal employment opportunity” along with an “at-will” declaration that states an employee can be let go at any time for any reason.
- Execute yearly reviews on all of your employees making sure you have records of his/her work performance, behavior, remarks, and attendance.
Your Oklahoma Business is a Priority
Make the protection of your business a priority and contact us at 918-341-6081 with any type of questions regarding EPL insurance or your current business insurance policy. We understand that your business deserves optimal attention and that any type of allegations against you and your company is a sensitive subject matter.