Domestic staff can be an invaluable asset in helping your life run smoothly. Whether it's a nanny, housekeeper, pool cleaner or personal assistant, everyone can use a helping hand now and again. However, employing domestic staff can also leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.
Risks posed by domestic staff
In addition to liability issues that may arise due to accidents that occur on your property, there are a number of exposures associated with having domestic staff. Wrongful termination, privacy issues, discrimination and harassment claims can all lead to expensive legal battles. All it takes is one disgruntled employee to file suit and a pleasant, productive working relationship becomes a frustrating and costly ordeal.
Most policies don't cover employment practices
Many homeowners are under the mistaken impression that a homeowner's or umbrella insurance policy will protect them under such circumstances. Unfortunately, most policies do not apply coverage to lawsuits based on wrongful employment practices.
Obtaining employment practices liability insurance, or EPLI, will protect you from these types of claims. While it's possible to add an EPLI endorsement to an existing insurance policy, the coverage is typically much less than a separate EPLI policy. In addition, EPLI endorsements typically only provide coverage for named issues, while standalone EPLI policies feature broader coverage.
What does EPLI protect against?
Wrongful Termination: Ending a working relationship can leave employees feeling angry and slighted. EPLI policies cover claims of being wrongfully discharged. In some cases, these policies will also cover claims from employees who say they were forced to quit due to an intolerable working environment.
Harassment: EPLI covers charges of harassment, sexual or otherwise, brought against either employers or fellow employees.
Discrimination: Whether a claim is based on race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, military service, pregnancy, disability or a handicap, EPLI policies protect against charges of employment-based discrimination.
Additional claims: EPLI also protects against wage and hour, defamation, invasion of privacy, mental anguish, emotional distress, assault, battery, breach of contract and negligence claims.
While obtaining employment practices liability insurance is an essential part of guarding against lawsuits associated with domestic staff, preventing a problem is just as important as finding a solution to one. By strategically planning and remaining diligent, employers can ensure that the risk of lawsuits arising from domestic staff is minimized.