Propel provides innovative insurance solutions to thousands of companies across the country. We make it our business to know your world inside and out.
Sometimes discrimination claims arise out of seemingly innocuous workplace changes. For example, even the simple introduction of new technology can lead to conflict.
Here is a description of an employment dispute as reported in a 2013 press release from the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
Beverly R. Butcher, Jr. had worked as a general inside laborer at the Consolidation Coal Company’s’ mine in Mannington, W.V., for over 35 years when the mining companies required employees to use a newly installed biometric hand scanner to track employee time and attendance. Butcher repeatedly told mining officials that submitting to a biometric hand scanner violated his sincerely held religious beliefs as an Evangelical Christian. He also wrote the mining superintendent and human resources manager a letter explaining the relationship between hand-scanning technology and the Mark of the Beast and the Antichrist discussed in the Book of
Revelation of the New Testament, requesting an exemption from the hand scanning based on his religious beliefs.
When the company refused to make any accommodation to Mr. Butcher, such as allowing him to use paper records as a substitute, he was forced to retire. The EEOC sued the company and the case went to trial. Earlier this year, the jury awarded $150,000 in damages.
All companies, no matter how well they are run or how clean their track record, could be the subject of an employment practices lawsuit. Whether it’s religious discrimination like the matter described above, or discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation or preference, pregnancy or disability, conflict can take many forms and arise out of surprising circumstances.
Employment Practices Liability insurance should be considered by all companies as it not only covers discrimination claims, but also includes violations of civil rights, hostile work environment and harassment, wrongful termination, and employment-related retaliation.
The social and legal landscape is constantly shifting, creating unexpected landmines. A well designed Employment Practices Liability policy can steer your business clear of potential damage.