Under Latest Jobs Bill, Employers Could be Sued for Bias Against Unemployed
By Ashley Western, ACSR, MSM RMI
President Barack Obama’s latest "jobs" bill provides a provision that allows business owners to be sued for not hiring someone because they are unemployed. The bill makes it "an unlawful employment practice" if a business with 15 or more employees refused to hire a person because of the individual’s status as unemployed. Job applicants who are not hired could sue for damages. Under the proposal the unemployed would be entitled to the same protections as if an employer discriminated against the applicant on the basis of a person's sex, race, religion or national origin.
Lawsuits for employment discrimination increase during a sluggish economy. In the fiscal year 2010, job bias charges filed with the employment commission increased 20 percent from 2007 and reached a record of nearly 100,000.
New York Times Article (see this link for a full discussion of the bill).
While Employment Practice Liability policies do not currently address this potential exposure, they do typically follow the letter of the EEOC law. There is coverage in most EPLI Insurance policies for "Failure to Hire" due to a protected discriminatory act (due to race, religion, national origin, etc. etc). If the new bill enacts liability to businessowners because of discrimination of the unemployed, policies are predicted to begin covering this exposure as well. With all the potential employment liability exposures businessowners face today, now is a great time to ask your agent for an Employment Practices Liability quote. Call us today if you have questions or would like a quote.