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
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
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