Economic volatility, changing demographics, and employees’ increasing awareness of their rights are fueling a rise in employment practices liability (EPL) claims, says Theran Colwell, director of risk management for CUNA Mutual Group.
As the workforce ages, “more people are falling under certain legislation, such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act,” he says.
Most EPL claims involve multiple allegations, Colwell adds, namely wrongful termination, retaliation, and discrimination. Such claims expose organizations to a range of potential penalties, such as high-dollar settlements, back pay, state or federal fines, legal costs, or injunctive relief.
“And don’t forget about reputation costs,” he says.
Colwell suggests four steps credit unions can take to help prevent EPL claims:
1. Have up-to-date, board-approved anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and other personnel policies.
2. Have an expert employment practices attorney review those polices annually.
3. Train employees, board members, and other volunteers on anti-harassment and anti-discrimination behavior. Also, train managers on anti-retaliation.
4. Document employment actions and retain this information.
Bill Merrick is deputy editor of Credit Union Magazine. Follow him on Twitter via @CUMagazine.