12052016Mon
Last updateThu, 01 Dec 2016 10am
Leading the state in estate jewelry

Leading the state in estate jewelry

Levy’s capitalizing on estate jewelry popularity

Es...

Retailer Roundtable: How do you wish customers happy holidays?

Retailer Roundtable: How do you wish customers happy holidays?

Q: How do you wish customers happy holidays?

“Start...

  • Newsletter

  • Latest Post

  • Most Read

Other News

Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

The New York City police are looking for a quick-thinking thief who stole an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in Manhattan.

The unidentified thief swiped the 5-gallon metal bucket off the back of the vehicl...

Readmore

Loading...

Industry Events

JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

Jewelers for Children (JFC) will hold their annual Facets of Hope on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The day change is a result of the adjusted JCK Show schedule. Charles Stanley of Forevermark and Y...

Readmore

Loading...

On The Move

Jewelers Mutual earns 30th consecutive A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best Company

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned its 30th consecutive A+ Superior financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company, one of the world’s most respected insurance rating and information sources.

Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutua...

Readmore

Loading...

What's New

LaserStar Technologies introduces eStore for spare parts ordering

LaserStar Technologies is proud to announce the release of their newly redesigned online store. LaserStar’s eStore has been redesigned to make your user experience faster, easier and more efficient. Now you will be able to access the eStore and Owner...

Readmore

Loading...

Featured Articles

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

There are many paths to finding the right career. Most are predictable, but sometimes the path becomes clear only through adversity. Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.9 billion makes him nearly 10 times wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, dropped...

Readmore

Loading...

Latest News

Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

4 DAYS AGO
Police searching for man who stole $1.6 million bucket of gold

The New York City police are looking for a quick-thinking thief who stole an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in Manhattan.

The unidentified thief swiped the 5-gallon metal bucket off the back of the vehicle on September 29 when a guard briefly went to the...

Readmore

National Jeweler publishes “State of the Majors”

4 DAYS AGO

Report returns for the first time since 2012

(NEW YORK) - National Jeweler has released the “State of the Majors,” a report which analyzes the performance of the country’s largest jewelers and the state of jewelry retailing today. The release of this once-annual report marks the first time National Je...

Readmore

JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

4 DAYS AGO
JFC to honor Charles Stanley and Yancy Weinrich at Facets of Hope event

Jewelers for Children (JFC) will hold their annual Facets of Hope on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The day change is a result of the adjusted JCK Show schedule. Charles Stanley of Forevermark and Yancy Weinrich of JCK Events, Luxury and JIS, have ...

Readmore

Stuller, Inc. announces 2017 Annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

25 DAYS AGO
Stuller, Inc. announces 2017 Annual Bench Jeweler Workshop

Battle of the Benches competition returns

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller’s annual Bench Jeweler Workshop featuring the 2nd annual Battle of the Benches competition will return to their global headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana on March 24th - March 26th, 2017.

Readmore

Jewelers Mutual earns 30th consecutive A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best Company

4 DAYS AGO

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has earned its 30th consecutive A+ Superior financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company, one of the world’s most respected insurance rating and information sources.

Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutual is the only insurer dedicated solely to serving ...

Readmore

Greg Gesswein promoted to President of Paul H. Gesswein and Co.

4 DAYS AGO
Greg Gesswein promoted to President of Paul H. Gesswein and Co.

Greg Gesswein has been promoted to president of Paul H. Gesswein and Co., Inc., a 102 year old Bridgeport based manufacturer and distributor of tools, equipment and supplies. Greg is the fourth generation of the Gesswein family to manage the business and replaces his father, Dwight W. Gesswein, who ...

Readmore

LaserStar Technologies introduces eStore for spare parts ordering

12 DAYS AGO

LaserStar Technologies is proud to announce the release of their newly redesigned online store. LaserStar’s eStore has been redesigned to make your user experience faster, easier and more efficient. Now you will be able to access the eStore and Owner’s Section with just one login. Ordering spare par...

Readmore

Thorsten Jewelry ventures into precious metals with a 14k line

19 DAYS AGO
Thorsten Jewelry ventures into precious metals with a 14k line

(LONG BEACH, Calif.) - Thorsten Jewelry is primarily known for using alternative metals such as tungsten carbide and cobalt chrome to create wedding bands for both men and women. However, they have recently ventured into the world of precious metals as well.

Readmore

EPLI - the insurance you don’t need?

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

corporations get sued for their employment practices.

• Fact: More than 50% of EPL charges are filed against small businesses.

I don’t need it because most claims can be settled out of court.

• Fact: True, most claims never get to trial but the typical claim will cost $65,000 to investigate, defend, and settle; many cost much more.

We treat our employees like gold (or diamonds) and we bend over backwards to always be fair.

• Fact: Claims can come from the least expected; not just employees, but also previous employees, and even potential employees – people who apply and, for whatever reason, don’t get hired.

Don’t the laws only apply to companies that have more than a certain number of employees?

• Fact: There are “size of company” applications to certain federal and state laws (defined by number of employees), but the civil actions have no such restrictions.

EPL claims only happen in cities - like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Milwaukee: Three female employees of a jewelry store sued the store for permitting a sexually hostile work environment that included inappropriate banter, touching by manager, and retaliation.

Settlement: $155,000

Michigan: A female employee and coworker alleged sexual harassment and abuse while working at a retail store; she was fired by the owner.

Demand: $100,000

Jury award: $347,250

Anchorage: A pregnant employee claimed she was denied a promotion due to her pregnancy.

Settlement: $55,000

Rhode Island: A jewelry manufacturer closed two plants. A particular employee who had received good performance reviews and who had been promoted during her tenure with the company during her employment was dismissed. She did not have seniority. She claimed wrongful termination based on age discrimination.

Demand: $17,500

Jury award: $70,000

Washington: A female store associate of a retail jewelry store claimed that the manager used foul and offensive language about female employees and customers.

Jury award: $138,600

Solano, CA: A woman claimed that she had been laid off from her job with a retail store because she had begun wearing a traditional Muslim headscarf.

Pending

Greenbelt, MD: Four employees sued the store for discriminating in hiring, pay, promotions, and conditions of employment against a particular race of employees and applicants.

Pending

What are listed above are charges of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, wrongful discharge, hostile work environment, religious discrimination, and racial discrimination. These are all matters of public record in cities and towns across the United States.

None of the cases listed would be covered under a jeweler’s Business Liability insurance. The language in General Liability that excludes coverage from claims that fall under the broad umbrella of “employment practices” is clear and unequivocal.

And “claims” may be brought against a company by current employees, former employees, leased workers, temporary or seasonal workers, applicants seeking employment, or non-owner officers.

EPL Basics

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of age, color, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or gender, national origin, or physical or mental disability. Note also that the term “disability” has been very broadly interpreted in the courts.

In the federal law, Title VII, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 1967), the following employment activities are monitored and regulated:

 

  • Hiring and firing;
  • Compensation, assignment, classification of employees;
  • Transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall;
  • Job advertisements, recruiting, or testing;
  • Use of company facilities;
  • Training and apprenticeship programs;
  • Fringe Benefits;
  • Pay, retirement plans, and disability leave.

 

One problem faced by employers today is that management does not always know about underlying problems. For example a “hostile work environment” may exist in the perception of an employee or employees which management may not deem to be inappropriate – or may not even be aware of.

One important question management must be asking itself today is, are there avenues that are both friendly and unthreatening which permit an employee to confidentially discuss hostile work situations? Another question is, are there procedures and standards in place which can address the issue?

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment has been defined as any unwelcome advance or request for sexual favors. It can include quid pro quo, (literally this for that, i.e., “if you will do something for me, I will do something for you”), and may be closely related to or may accompany hostile environment situations.

Sexual harassment is not limited to the work site – it may just as easily occur elsewhere, with or without the employer’s sponsorship of an off site event.

Damages may include civil assault and battery, intentional inflictions of emotional stress, and invasion of privacy.

Are there trends?

From 1994 through the year 2000, employers prevailed in 50% to 69% of cases overall (Jury Verdict Institute) – of cases that actually went to trial. However the majority of cases do not go to trial at all and result in settlement between plaintiff and defendant, at an average cost to defend of $150,000.

And each year sees a higher number of claims filed than the year previous.

Experts predict that the economy may become another factor which increases the number of claims in the future, as employers may be forced to consolidate resources and be forced to release employees; and as replacement jobs become more difficult to find.

Insurance

As previously stated, this type of exposure is a wide gap in coverage for most jewelry business employers, due to clear exclusions in the general liability policy.

Special coverage is becoming available both through agents’ excess and surplus markets (the “wholesale” part of the jewelry industry) and through some standard carriers.

The type of coverage is “Employment Practices Liability Insurance,” or more simply, “EPLI.”

Unlike standard general liability insurance products, most EPLI is written on a “claims made” basis; whereas general liability is considered “occurrence” based.

Here’s the difference.

In general liability insurance, it is when an insured event occurred that determines coverage; and a policy covers those events which occur while the policy is in force.

For example: a person falls in your store during a time that your coverage is with company A, but suit is not brought until later, when coverage has been replaced by company B. It is company A which must respond to the claim, even though it is no longer your insurer.

In most EPLI, the time that the claim is made is what determines coverage. In the above example, if it were an employment practices situation rather than a slip-and-fall, insurance company B would have to address the claim – even though the insured event (e.g., sexual harassment) occurred before it was your insurer.

Some cautions, as result of this distinction:

1. If buying EPLI to replace a previous carrier’s coverage, be certain that the new insuror is aware of the previous coverage and agrees to accept any claims which might now arise from previous events. This is referred to as going back to the retro date, i.e., the date at which EPLI was originally purchased.

A new carrier should assume coverage for “past sins” reported in the new policy period.

2. If canceling EPLI altogether, it is wise to purchase extended coverage for any unknown claims which may have occurred while coverage was in force, but which may appear after cancellation of coverage. In insurance vernacular, this is sometimes referred to as buying a tail, which may extend for a year or more after cancellation. There is a cost for the extended coverage, but much less than the in-force policy.

Now a history test: When was the Civil Rights Act originally written?

 

  • 1866
  • 1952
  • 1964
  • 1993

 

The answer is 1866 – at the conclusion of the Civil War! It prohibited discrimination based on race and national origin.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 remained unchanged for 98 years, at which time the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, extending protections to sex, religion, and pregnancy.

Following that: the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 (amended in 1978 and 1986) was passed; and then the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is more recent legislation and contains five parts or “titles” - a very important one to the retail industry being Title III which pertains to full and equal enjoyment of goods and services, facilities or privileges of private entities serving the public.

Title III is the reason that entrances, rest rooms, and other facilities sometimes must be redesigned to make them more “user friendly.”

For more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact the U. S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 513-0380 (TTY).

So do you need EPLI?

If you do not have the coverage, now is the time to ask your insurance professional about it. You may be pleasantly surprised at the cost, relative the potential loss. The premium is based on the number of employees that you have (and hence your risk of having a claim).

Remember the cautions about replacing or canceling EPLI coverage.

To assume that you are not at risk and do not need the coverage because you “treat your employees well and they all love you” may be naïve – and not the best strategy. While employers often are vindicated, it is the cost of defense that is the important issue – and EPLI is designed to cover that cost, as well as the damages should you lose.

Bob Carroll of Robert G. Carroll and Associates is a Certified Insurance Counselor, and has been a specialist in insurance for the jewelry industry for over 25 years - an independent agent representing Jewelers Mutual and other quality carriers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Columnist


×