The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global shift towards remote and hybrid work arrangements, the introduction of vaccination policies and a renewed spotlight on diversity, equity and inclusion. As a result, businesses are facing new and emerging exposures for employment-related legal issues, particularly as they adapt to new laws enacted since the start of the pandemic and increasing expectations of care.
According to the Fisher Phillips COVID-19 Employment Litigation Tracker, over 3,000 workplace lawsuits were filed in the the U.S. in 2021 against employers as a result of their actions during and in response to the pandemic. The cases include remote work disputes, allegations of unsafe workplaces, return-to-office discrimination and much more.
Although Canadians tend to be significantly less litigious than those in the US, it is more important than ever for businesses to be proactive in limiting their exposure.
Three Common Employment Claims
- Wrongful termination
- Sexual harassment
Three Strategies to Limit Your Exposure to Employment Claims
HUMAN RESOURCES BEST PRACTICES
- Audit your human resources policies to ensure that it covers all the bases, including:
- sexual harassment
- equal opportunity
- disabled employees and accommodations
- employee discipline
- performance evaluations
- internet usage/employee privacy
- maternity leave
- internal job postings
- hiring and interviewing
- alternative dispute
- employment application form
- Audit your employee handbook to ensure that it clearly and concisely covers all workplace policies and terms of employment.
- Require employees to sign forms acknowledging their receipt of the handbook.
- Conduct training for managers and supervisors on human resource policies, covering performance reviews and interviews.
BE AWARE OF POTENTIAL SOURCES OF LIABILITY
Lawsuits can arise from:
- recruitment practices
- employment applications
- employment offers
- employee orientation
- annual conduct reviews
- enforcing performance policies
- improper documentation of the above
SECURE EPL INSURANCE
Employment Practices Liability (EPL) Insurance is a key element of a robust risk management program for protecting your business against the impact of a lawsuit. Contact your broker to discuss your options.
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