Is Employment Liability on the Menu?
I was looking at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website listing of recent enforcement actions, and it was striking to see how often restaurants appeared.
The latest action charged that a restaurant violated gender discrimination laws by paying women less than men for the same job.
Another theme was how preventable the lawsuits were. With a little guidance from EPLI risk management resources, the restaurant owner could have remained lawsuit free. Did the businesses buy an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy with free loss prevention services? Did their insurance agent recommend it?
Consider these recent claims and settlements taken from EEOC public records:
- Young female restaurant employees sued owner for groping by a supervisor - $75,000
- Restaurant fired waitress immediately upon learning of her pregnancy - $30,000
- Dishwasher fired in retaliation for making sexual harassment complaints - $20,000
- Young female waitresses fired after reporting sexual harassment by a cook - $105,000
Now consider the resources available with an EPLI policy. On one EPLI risk management website, I found dozens of articles tailored to hospitality risks. The three below got my attention.
- "Thinking an Employee Is Too Pregnant To Work?" - How to avoid pregnancy discrimination claims
- "Teen Harassment - A Risk No Employer Can Ignore" - Tools for preventing harassment of teenagers
- "Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Power" - Protecting workers from harassment and humiliation
What if the employers in the lawsuits had read these loss prevention materials first? There is a good chance that the restaurants would have avoided the claims - the cost, ill will and disruption - had they used the resources offered with an EPLI policy; surely EPLI coverage would have been cheaper.
Better to serve customers than be served with a lawsuit. It's time to place an order for EPLI.