Employment practices lawsuits are increasingly common complications for Michigan businesses. According to experts, the majority of businesses today will face some sort of legal complications surrounding employment practices throughout the course of their operation. Whether the accusations are founded or not when allegations of wrongful employment tactics or handling surface they can put a strain on Oakland County businesses large and small. Experts report that claim expenditures are on the rise as a result of multi-party claims and long claim resolution times.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has expressed concern that many employment screening practices can create a discriminatory impact based on race, economic status, national origin and other socio-economic factors when staffing. Most businesses are aware of common employment practices risk exposures such a wrongful termination, harassment, and discrimination. However, in recent years the hiring process and other actions affecting employees such as human resources, payroll, employee benefits, risk management and workers’ compensation have become exposures to litigation as well.
Here are a few lesser known exposures to employment practices litigation that the EEOC has called special attention to in the last few years:
- Internships- Internships, especially unpaid internships, have been a cause for many lawsuits. Dozens of cases have surfaced alleging that intern workers have been or are currently being mistreated in the workplace. These claims run the gambit from compensation disputes to harassment allegations. Commonly issues surrounding interns focus on the classification of these workers as “employees” or not, and what rights and protections these workers have.
- Background checks- While a background check is often a crucial part of many employer’s hiring practices, there are making decisions based on the criminal, financial and demographic background of an individual can lead to a host of legal complications. Lawmakers and workers’ rights groups are pursuing legislation which prohibits discrimination based on criminal history unless the information obtained is directly related to job performance. When requesting personal history reports, employees must be notified in writing that the information will be obtained and used as a factor for employment. The candidate’s written consent is also necessary.
- Genetic Discrimination- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Information Act prohibits employers from using genetic information in employment related decisions and classification, or requesting genetic information from an employee. It’s not all too common that employers ask their employees to consent to a DNA test, however asking an employee about medical history or other health factors is not unheard of during the hiring process. Doing so could expose your operation to costly legal disputes and investigations, so it is best to stick to performance based questions to assess an employee’s abilities. For example, asking the candidate if they are able to lift a specific amount of weight necessary to perform their job functions.
Employment disputes are unpleasant at best, and can be extremely costly to Oakland County businesses. As such it is important to protect your operation from potential losses from lawsuits and inquiries with comprehensive Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). At Capital Insurance Agency, we offer a complete portfolio of business insurance and risk management solutions. Our Oakland County EPLI professionals can sit down with you to discuss your risk exposures and provide you with a blanket of coverage against claims by any employees, former, current or future. To learn more about our Oakland County EPLI or our Southeast Michigan insurance operation, give us a call today at 888 296 0418.