Trending Issues in Employment Practices Liability

Trending Issues in Employment Practices Liability

Commercial insurance rates have been increasing, and this includes rates for employment practices liability insurance. According to Business Insurance, a recent survey from the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers revealed that employment practices liability rates rose 9.4% in the second quarter of 2020.

In light of rising rates, controlling claims is increasingly important. In addition to the familiar risks, new threats are emerging. Below are the trending issues in employment practices liability …


The COVID-19 pandemic has put a massive strain on businesses and their employees. As companies try keep their doors open, employees may feel that not enough is being done to protect their health, and the resulting disputes can lead to lawsuits.

For example, employees who are fired after voicing safety concerns may sue for wrongful termination. According to Fox Business, this is what happened when a Trader Joe’s employee in Kentucky sued for wrongful termination, alleging that he was fired for voicing his safety concerns online.

Other issues may arise when employers ask employees to sign COVID-19 waivers before returning to work. By signing the waivers, employees are agreeing not to sue if they get sick, but some employees do not want to sign. According to Fortune, a lawyer representing a California-based client who was fired after refusing to sign has called these waivers illegal and unfair.

Claims Journal reports that, based on a litigation tracker, at least 300 employee vs. employer lawsuits related to COVID-19 have been filed in U.S. courts.

Black Lives Matter

George Floyd’s death triggered a wave of civil unrest protesting police brutality. On top of the business interruption and property damage that can occur as a result of the demonstrations, the heightened tension may also lead to employment practices liability claims.

In one example of how this can happen, Whole Foods Market has been hit with a class action lawsuit over its refusal to let employees wear Black Lives Matter masks at work. According to Boston Globe, the lawsuit now involves 28 plaintiffs in nine states.

The #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement continues to impact employment practices liability claims.

According to, #MeToo-related litigation does not appear to be easing, and “sexual harassment” has appeared in risk factor disclosures in period filings and registrations at an increased rate since 2017.

Transgender Rights

Recent focus on transgender rights is also contributing to employee practices liability lawsuits. Claims may occur when transgender employees believe they have been harassed, discriminated against or wrongfully dismissed.

In one example of a recent lawsuit, a transgender worker has sued Nike for $1.1 million over alleged pronoun abuse and misgendering from coworkers, according to CBS News. Meanwhile, according to FreightWaves, FedEx Freight has settled a lawsuit over a dismissed transgender driver.

Need Guidance?

Wilson, Washburn & Forster is a boutique independent insurance agency that has been in business since 1961.  As a local broker, we are experienced in helping Florida businesses manage their employment practices liability exposures. You will find that our experience, claims handling, service, and community commitment is unrivaled.

Contact us today for a complimentary analysis of your current insurance program by an insurance specialist in this field at 786-454-8384.

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