A few months back, we discussed the increase in the number of EPLI claims.
While employers are aware of the increasing risk of EPLI claims, many don’t know how to contain it and mitigate risks before they appear.
Disability claims in particular are a difficult entity for employers to protect against. They are not as easily spotted as a sexual harassment case for example and can often be a murky affair. Some disabilities may not be physically evident and are therefore difficult to discern. And, employers are limited in asking about them. Finally, the Americans with Disabilities Act, effective in 2009, has adopted a broader definition to encompass “any physical or mental impairment that interferes significantly in life activity.”
For example, while it is reasonably easy to provide accommodations for an employee in a wheel chair, it may be harder to identify individuals without obvious physical impairments, such as those suffering from depression and hypertension. The work force is also aging. People are living and working longer, pushing the retirement age back farther than ever before. An aging workforce increases the chance of having a disabling condition and increases pressure on companies to accommodate their needs.
As more job candidates and employees are considered “disabled” under the ADA amendments, another spike in employment claims is predicted. 2011 brought 25,742 disability discrimination cases, over a quarter of all EEOC charges.
Employers must continually work to institute a strategy to address and mitigate the risk of EPLI claims. In our blog post next week, we’ll discuss the steps employers can take to mitigate the possibility of costly litigation.
PLRisk Advisors offers clients in all classes of business a competitive EPLI product designed to cover legal fees, settlements and damage awards that result from EPLI claims. Contact us today for more information on our programs.