Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)


COVID-19 Lawsuits are coming

During this unprecedented and ever-chaning time, growing perils involving employment, disgruntled shareholders, mergers/acquisitions, government investigations, ERISA violations and employee dishonesty require more innovation and more flexibility among insurance programs and providers. At the same time, businesses want less complication. They want to make easier choices, and feel secure about their course of action.

In partnership with an AM Best “A+” rated carrier, we are able to offer a comprehensive Employment Practice Liability Insurance (EPLI) product that offers the versatility, simplicity and security that practices like yours are seeking. This product is exclusively distributed through our wholesale partner AmWINS Brokerage, a leading specialty distributor of property, casualty and professional lines insurance.


  • Protects a company and its employees from allegations of wrongful termination or demotion, sexual or workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, defamation and other unfair hiring/firing practices.
  • Often includes coverage for harassment or discrimination-related claims brought by third parties such as customers, clients, vendors or other people who come in contact with your employees.
  • Covers defense costs, settlements and other damages associated with employment-related lawsuits.
  • Can also include small defense costs limits for Wage & Hour claims. Very few markets also provide indemnity coverage.
  • May also include a small limit of coverage for immigration-related claims.


  • It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong, defending against litigation is costly.
  • No other types of insurance respond to EPL matters.
  • To take advantage of the insurance company’s discounted law firm rates and experience handling employment claims.
  • A mishandled employment lawsuit can cause irreparable harm to a company’s reputation.
  • Many EPL policies now include free hotlines and employee training services to help employers comply with employment laws and regulations.


  • Employees, former employees, volunteers and employment applicants.
  • Third Parties: customers, vendors, competitors, employees of nearby businesses and others.
  • Regulatory or governmental agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor (DOL), California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and many other similar state or local regulatory agencies.


  • E-Risk EPL Helpline
  • Broad definition of employees to include leased or contracted individuals, independent contractors and applicants for employment
  • Full retaliation coverage
  • Punitive damaged coverage (Most favorable venue language) where insurable
  • No exclusion for reduction in force or mass layoffs
  • No intentional acts exclusion
  • Third party coverage built into form and is available for an additional premium. Broad definition of third party
  • Broad definition of Claim
  • Broad definition of Loss inclusive of Prejudgment and Post judgment awards
  • Broad Wrongful Act definition
  • Additional Limit for Defense Costs is available for an additional premium
  • Loss specifically includes front pay and back pay.
  • BIPD exclusion modified not to apply to mental anguish or humiliation for all claims
  • No prior subsidiary exclusion
  • Favorable other insurance provision, such that policy would be primary for Employment practices Claims and excess of other insurance for Third Party Claims

In addition to the above coverage highlights, our Business and Management General Terms and Conditions have the following coverage benefits:

  • Duty to defend form
  • World wide coverage
  • Coverage non cancelable by Underwriters except for non-payment of premium
  • Broad definition of Insureds, including coverage for Directors and Officers, employees as well as the corporate entity and any such organization as a debtor -in-possession or a bankruptcy estate of such entity
  • Severability as respects all exclusions and the application
  • Spousal/domestic partner extension
  • Broad definition of subsidiary to include automatic coverage for newly created or acquired subsidiaries with no threshold or reporting requirements. Automatic coverage for joint ventures.
  • Multiple year run off and discovery period options offered at time of quote.
  • Bilateral discovery
  • No Hammer clause

*Please note – the above coverage highlights are for illustration purposes only and shall not be construed as policy interpretations.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in hiring, firing or pay based on a person’s race, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, or national origin. Sexual harassment is also prohibited. These cases are initially processed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The right to sue letter is issued after the case is dismissed by the claimant or the EEOC has made a determination. (www.eeoc.gov)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) says employers can’t discriminate in any way against applicants or employees older than 40 because of their age. Many states also have statutes that place additional requirements upon employers. (www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/age.cfm)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits job discrimination against qualified people with disabilities (i.e., those who can perform the job’s essential functions with or without a reasonable accommodation). (www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the nation’s main wage law. It sets the federal minimum wage (many states have higher minimums) and requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA also limits the hours and type of duties that teens can work. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor manages the administration of the FLSA. (www.dol.gov/dol/topic/wages)

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) says eligible employees – those with at least one year of service – can take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid, job-protected time off for the birth of a child or adoption of a child or to care for themselves or a sick child, spouse or parent who has a “serious” health condition. The FMLA applies to organizations with 50 or more employees. This statute is the responsibility of the Department of Labor (DOL). (www.dol.gov/whd/fmla)

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) makes it illegal to discriminate against employees who volunteer or are called to military duty. When reservists return from active duty tours of less than five years, you must reemploy them to their old jobs or to equal jobs. (www.esgr.org/site/USERRA/FAQ.aspx)

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) says employers can’t pay female employees less than male employees for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility. The statute of limitations is two years for these types of claims and can be up to three years if the act is willful. These allegations may be brought directly to federal court or may be filed through the EEOC. (www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sex.cfm)

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits job discrimination on the basis of “pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.” You can’t deny a job or promotion merely because an employee is pregnant or had an abortion. She can’t be fired for her condition or forced to go on leave. (www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/pregnancy.cfm)

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) makes it illegal to hire and employ illegal aliens. Employers must verify identification and workplace eligibility for all hires by completing I-9 Forms. (www.uscis.gov)


In Massachusetts, a manager worked for 21 years at a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping indigent persons become self-sufficient. During these years, she receives excellent performance reviews, and the executive director indicates that she will be his successor. Despite her qualifications, however, the organization’s board rejects her application to become executive director and chooses a less experienced man. The female employee is later terminated. After a five-day trial, a court finds that she has been subject to discrimination based on her gender and that, after she complained to a state agency about discrimination, the organization improperly retaliated against her by refusing to send out letters of reference. The judge awards the plaintiff almost $800,000 in damages, and legal costs for the not-for-profit organization total $350,000.

At a hospital affiliated with a religious group, a homosexual employee claims that he was fired because of his sexual orientation. He alleges that the church representatives at the hospital were concerned about his sexual orientation and treated him different from heterosexual employees. He also asserts that various members of management said they wanted to “get” the plaintiff because of his sexual orientation. A jury agrees with the employee and awards $1.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The court refuses to reduce the award, stating that “charities have no license to discriminate any more than does a private business.” Additionally, legal fees for the hospital amount to $300,000.

At a state branch of an organization devoted to the prevention of cruelty to animals, a female employee sues the organization and two supervisors. According to the employee, the workplace atmosphere is rife with “tasteless comments” about women. She also proffers a statistical report by a hired expert that purportedly shows that women do not receive comparable pay for comparable work at the institution. The employee claims she has been the victim of discrimination because of her gender in violation of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. A federal district court ultimately rejects her claims based on a lack of adequate evidence of discriminatory action, but the organization incurs more than $200,000 in defense costs.

In New York, a male graphics designer for a charitable group devoted to neighborhood clubs for elementary school girls claims the organization denied him a promotion because of his gender. The man seeks to certify a class action to include all male employees at the national headquarters. In addition to a Title VII claim, he contends that the organization’s “glass ceiling practices” have caused him pain and suffering. The organization prevails, but legal fees amount to $300,000 after extensive motions in the trial court and a subsequent appeal.

The plaintiff in this case was terminated while out on leave medical leave due to an injury that occurred at work. The plaintiff asserts that he was the victim of numerous discriminatory and harassing actions and remarks regarding his disability. The plaintiff alleges he was advised that if he filed a workers’ compensation claim he would be terminated. The plaintiff was in fact terminated without disability benefits after he filed a workers’ compensation claim. The complaint was comprised of three causes of action; including: discrimination based on physical disability; tortuous termination; and specific violation of state laws. The defense and settlement exceeded $75,000.

A female employee alleges that several employees made inappropriate sexual comments towards her, including suggestions that she was having a sexual relationship with another employee. In addition, she also alleges that her boss and co-workers asked her inappropriate questions concerning her personal life. The plaintiff alleges that after she complained, her manager engaged in a practice of retaliation. She contends that she was excluded from certain meetings, taken off certain projects and assignments, treated rudely and received a negative evaluation. The parties participated in non-binding arbitration and consented to a settlement of $250,000.

The EEOC filed a class action lawsuit against a company that is alleged to have violated federal civil rights laws by refusing to hire otherwise qualified applicants for outside sales positions because they were female or over the age of 40. The EEOC further alleged that the company engaged in an intentional pattern of systemic hiring discrimination that resulted in no one over 40 or female being hired for seventy new sales representative jobs in a three-year span. Settlement exceeded $1 million along with non-monetary relief consisting of EEOC monitoring for four years, revised hiring practices and extensive training for all employees involved in the hiring process.

An employee alleges wrongful termination because she shaved her head. The employee contends that all of her performance evaluations were positive and that she was given a salary increase shortly before she shaved her head. The claimant seeks general damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs

Total defense costs and settlement exceeded $250,000

The plaintiff alleges that her prior company has taken steps to damage her reputation and improperly interfered with her ability to obtain other employment. In particular the plaintiff alleges that the company spoke with several competitors and disclosed the reasons for her termination. The complaint is comprised of several causes of action including: tortuous interference; defamation and wrongful interference with the plaintiffs’ livelihood and reputation; and violation of privacy

The plaintiff agreed to settle out of court for $125,000 and defense costs exceeded $25,000

An employee of a small publishing company filed a charge with the EEOC against her former employer. The claimant alleges that she resigned from her position as office manager because the company engaged in illegal employment practices which made her work environment intolerable. She alleges that the company refused to hire or even consider males for the receptionist position. The claimant also alleges that the owner made degrading comments to a male employee that sat at the receptionist’s desk. The claimant alleges she has been discriminated against on the basis of her gender.

Although the parties settled out of court, the total cost of this claim was in excess of $100,000

A female employee working for a service company alleges that several employees made inappropriate sexual comments towards her, including suggestions that she was having a sexual relationship with another employee. In addition, she also alleges that her boss and co-workers asked her inappropriate questions concerning her personal life. The plaintiff alleges that after she complained, her manager engaged in a practice of retaliation. She contends that she was excluded from certain meetings, taken off certain projects and assignments, treated rudely and received a negative evaluation.

The parties participated in non-binding arbitration and consented to a settlement of $250,000

Executives of a company receive documentation from an employee that provides details on the company’s non-compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The plaintiff alleges that he was improperly terminated because they notified the company executives that FDA regulations were being violated. The plaintiff asserts that the company fabricated allegations regarding their “misconduct” and “deficient performance” and used the false allegations as pretext for termination.

This claim is currently being defended

A small medical office paid over $20,000 to an employee in overtime wages, and $4,500 in fees for misclassification of the administrative staff members.

Shortly after a company is told that an administrative assistant (paid well above market rates) is pregnant with complications, it hires another assistant and has the pregnant claimant train her. After the claimant trains the new employee, the company then fires the claimant. The claimant alleges that her employment was wrongfully terminated based on disability and pregnancy discrimination. She is left without insurance for her pregnancy and can’t find a job that pays her anywhere near what her former employer paid her.

Settlement and defense approached $1 million

An employee diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease was involuntarily put on a six month’s paid leave of absence. While out on leave, his employer reviewed his work and found that he made numerous mistakes warranting the termination of his employment. He was fired upon his return from leave. The employee alleged disability discrimination in that the company failed to engage in the interactive process to accommodate his disability, and used, what he considered to be, his minor mistakes as a pretext to fire him.

Settlement and defense exceeded $1 million

A patient went to a physician’s office for immediate treatment. The office refused to treat her due to lack of insurance. The woman filed a lawsuit against the physician’s office for racial and religious discrimination due to her ethnic and religious background.

Claim is still being defended

The state of Florida sued a local physician office charging him with refusing to treat patients with the AIDS virus and telling employees not to accept HIV-positive patients.

They were seeking restitution of $10,000 per plaintiff.

A female drug representative was verbally harassed repeatedly by a physician while visiting a medical office. The other physician partners were informed but nothing was done. The drug representative filed sexual harassment charges.

The defense costs were $50,000 and the claim was settled for $275,00

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Employers Urged to Review EPLI Policies as COVID Lawsuits Loom

As businesses begin to open back up, employers are facing a myriad of issues pertaining to employee and patient safety. Some employees are ready to work but are afraid of contracting the virus; others may refuse to follow CDC guidelines, despite these rules being in place to ensure a safe reopening. (read more)

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