When Employees Sue

First there was the #MeToo movement, which concentrated attention onto sexual harassment of women in the workplace. Then Black Lives Matter created a conversation around racial inequities, including those on the job. Now it’s COVID-19, and we are seeing issues of employee rights and employer responsibilities in providing a safe work environment, as well as layoffs or terminations at a time when the economy is on a downward trajectory coming into our awareness.

No matter what the catalyst, upheaval in social, economic, or corporate milieus tend to cause ripple effects across organizations. As unrest increases, typically, so too do employee lawsuits. Between September 2017 and September 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 90,558 cases charging discrimination: 51% were claims of retaliation, and just over 32% were claiming sexual harassment.

For the firearms industry, claims are on the rise. We’re seeing significantly more claims related to employment practices, which have only increased since COVID-19 took hold. Yet what many companies may not realize is that employment practices liability, or EPL, is excluded from most liability policies. In the last 18 months, NFP has seen EPL claims rise to become possibly the number one issue impacting our firearms industry clients from a risk management standpoint.

That’s a problem, particularly when employers are charged with laying off or terminating employees, a practice that’s been exacerbated since the pandemic began.

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