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What is an Employment Practices Claim?

By David Dickie, President, The Solutions Group

We see tremendous confusion in the home care community with regard to employment practices claims, most particularly: What is an employment practices claim? What insurance policy covers such things? And what typical scenarios in home care lead to claims?

An employment practices claim is an employee action against an employer for damages due to any of the following:

  • Wrongful Termination
  • Discrimination (Age, Race, Sexual Orientation)
  • Workplace Harassment
  • Employment Related Defamation
  • Invasion of Privacy
  • Retaliation
  • Violation of FMLA
  • Breach of Written Employment Contract

In addition to the list above, the homecare industry is also subject to third-party claims; for instance if a client creates a hostile work environment for a caregiver by repeatedly making harassing comments.

General and professional liability policies typical to home care agencies exclude employment practices claims from coverage. A special policy is needed for employment claims, called employment practices liability insurance (EPLI).

What scenarios can result in employment practices claims?

  • A caregiver is hurt on the job and is on workers compensation disability for a period of time. When released back to work, there is no job available. 
  • An employee handbook details a disciplinary procedure of two warnings with intervention prior to termination. A caregiver is given one warning with regard to late arrival and then terminated. 
  • An employment advertisement is placed in a local newspaper that states ‘English must be a first language’. 
  • An agency consistently places caregivers of only the same race as the client.

We have seen an uptick in employment practices claims in the home care industry. Here are seven reasons to consider employment practices liability insurance:

  1. Every employer, large or small, can be the target of legal action from past, present, and prospective employees. 
  2. Employee lawsuits are 1,000 times more likely to occur than a fire 
  3. Employees filed 99,412 charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2012. For pure terror, take a look at www.eeoc.gov
  4. Employees can easily file lawsuits at no cost, with no risk to them 
  5. Employees win 70% of jury trials 
  6. A ‘Jury of Your Peers’ is unlikely to have even one business owner on it 
  7. Defense costs can easily exceed $100,000, even if you did nothing wrong 

The Solutions Group specializes in providing liability insurance for home care agencies and currently insures over 1,750 homemaker services, health care agencies, and hospices across the country. They have a commitment to hassle-free service, knowledge of your business, and affordable coverage.

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