When people interact – regardless of the setting – what individuals say or do to each other isn’t always going to be perceived as appropriate. People are not perfect, and mistakes are made. However, some actions are far worse than others.  image of board of directors discussing EPLI

Our inter-connectivity and 24/7 access to social media adds not only a new arena in which to misbehave, but also creates a new vehicle by which to rapidly spread awareness of a person’s misbehavior. A simple hashtag can now create a wave of awareness that can significantly impact corporations, institutions or individuals.

Most recently, the #MeToo movement has shaken organizations like Fox News, ABC, NBC, NFL Network, NPR and Vox Media. The movement stands to significantly impact our culture, as it has opened up a long overdue discussion about the frequency of sexual assault, discrimination and harassment, especially in the workplace.

The Rise of Employment Practices Liability Insurance Policies

In 1991, sexual harassment gained attention and increased public awareness in when law professor Anita Hill accused her former boss and then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. At the time, only five insurance companies offered Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policies covering sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, according to the Betterley Report, an insurance market report which tracks insurance trends.

In the aftermath of Anita Hill’s public claims, the sale of EPLI policies increased steadily. The Thomas confirmation hearings raised awareness of the risk that companies face. In anticipation of sexual discrimination and harassment claims, companies big and small rushed out to purchase insurance to protect against both the costs associated with defending allegations of and actual damages for sexual harassment claims. Today, AmWINS places EPL accounts with over 75 insurers.

Over the past few months, the #MeToo movement has again exposed unacceptable predatory behavior in the workplace. It has also shown that there is no room for tolerance where sexual harassment exists. Companies must be ready to quickly address sexual harassment, assault and discrimination in the workplace as it is uncovered. A movement that started out in very high-profile, public industries and in politics will soon spread into the hallways of everyday American businesses. 

Come back later this week to read part two of this series covering the type of workplace sexual harassment and protection provided through EPLI policies. 

Continue to Part Two


Posted 4:46 PM

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