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Last updateThu, 20 Jul 2017 8am

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W magazine reviews the most outrageous jewelry from Paris Couture Week

W magazine reviews the most outrageous jewelry from Paris Couture Week

Paris Haute Couture is a special time of year where the top fashion houses put their best pieces forward twice a year with beautiful, handcrafted designs. In July, it seems as though the jewelry houses also get in on the fun, showing their own best o...

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Industry Events

JA to host several events at JA New York Show

JA to host several events at JA New York Show

Designer Preview & Member Meetup, Education Program, Idea Exchange and certification exams

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) is hosting its Designer Preview & Member Meetup on Sunday, July 23 at Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine. JA Retail Me...

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On The Move

Pe-Jay Creations partners with heartfelt birthstone line, “MY STORY”

Pe-Jay Creations partners with heartfelt birthstone line, “MY STORY”

A perfect match of creative and business smarts to continue MY STORY growth

(NEW YORK) - Mitchell Feuer of Pe-Jay Creations and  Jackie Cohen from Timeless Fine Jewelry have partnered to create a new company, MY STORY FINE JEWELRY, to breakout the hear...

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What's New

Rio Grande and B9Creations partner to bring 3D Printing to jewelers

Rio Grande and B9Creations partner to bring 3D Printing to jewelers

Rio Grande is pleased to announce a partnership with B9Creations that brings the “best in 3D printing” to professional jewelers. The new B9 Core Series 3D printer, sold by Rio Grande, marries “plug and grow” ease with some of the fastest printing spe...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable:  What are your biggest hiring challenges?

Retailer Roundtable: What are your biggest hiring challenges?

Q:    What are your biggest hiring challenges?

“I’ve been in business for 30 years and hiring challenges have remained pretty consistent throughout that time - finding a sales associate that has an understanding and love of jewelry. One of the most comm...

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Latest News

W magazine reviews the most outrageous jewelry from Paris Couture Week

2 DAYS AGO
W magazine reviews the most outrageous jewelry from Paris Couture Week

Paris Haute Couture is a special time of year where the top fashion houses put their best pieces forward twice a year with beautiful, handcrafted designs. In July, it seems as though the jewelry houses also get in on the fun, showing their own best offerings to both editors and the customers who may...

Readmore

Tennis ball-sized 'diamond in the rough' too big to sell

2 DAYS AGO
Tennis ball-sized 'diamond in the rough' too big to sell

TORONTO (Reuters) - In the mysterious world of diamond mining, it turns out that some stones are too big to sell.

Canada's Lucara Diamond Corp will have to cut its tennis ball-sized rough diamond to find a buyer, industry insiders say, following Sotheby's failed auction for the world's largest uncut ...

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JA to host several events at JA New York Show

2 DAYS AGO
JA to host several events at JA New York Show

Designer Preview & Member Meetup, Education Program, Idea Exchange and certification exams

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA) is hosting its Designer Preview & Member Meetup on Sunday, July 23 at Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine. JA Retail Members will have the opportunity to mingle with fel...

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Atlanta Jewelry Show’s “The Loupe” buying group program to celebrate 2nd anniversary at August show

9 DAYS AGO
Atlanta Jewelry Show’s “The Loupe” buying group program to celebrate 2nd anniversary at August show

(ATLANTA) - The August, 2017 Atlanta Jewelry Show (AJS) will be celebrating a special anniversary when the show floor opens up for business on August 12th.  The AJS Buyer Group program, “The Loupe” is turning 2 years old, and continues to expand with new partners, programs and service offerings.

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Pe-Jay Creations partners with heartfelt birthstone line, “MY STORY”

2 DAYS AGO
Pe-Jay Creations partners with heartfelt birthstone line, “MY STORY”

A perfect match of creative and business smarts to continue MY STORY growth

(NEW YORK) - Mitchell Feuer of Pe-Jay Creations and  Jackie Cohen from Timeless Fine Jewelry have partnered to create a new company, MY STORY FINE JEWELRY, to breakout the heartfelt birthstone line, “MY STORY”

Readmore

International Gemological Institute (IGI) - India achieves RJC Certification

9 DAYS AGO
International Gemological Institute (IGI) - India achieves RJC Certification

(MUMBAI) - IGI India has announced it has achieved certification against the Responsible Jewellery Council’s (RJC) 2013 Code of Practices (COP), which signifies the Institute has met the ethical, social and environmental standards as established by the Council.

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Rio Grande and B9Creations partner to bring 3D Printing to jewelers

2 DAYS AGO
Rio Grande and B9Creations partner to bring 3D Printing to jewelers

Rio Grande is pleased to announce a partnership with B9Creations that brings the “best in 3D printing” to professional jewelers. The new B9 Core Series 3D printer, sold by Rio Grande, marries “plug and grow” ease with some of the fastest printing speeds and smoothest surface resolution of any 3D pri...

Readmore

New collections spur Alamea Hawaii to successful JCK Las Vegas Show

2 DAYS AGO
New collections spur Alamea Hawaii to successful JCK Las Vegas Show

Hawaii-based Alamea, makers of sealife, tropical and nature jewelry as well as hand crafted wood rings, reported a very successful 2017 JCK Las Vegas Show. Owner Jay Wu attributed this success to their launch of new collections of 14kt larimar, two-tone 14kt and sterling with diamonds and abalone, a...

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Furry friends on the job: Bernadette

2 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Bernadette

Meet Bernadette, the first feline sent in for our Furry Friends feature. Bernadette is the Queen of the castle at Creative Jewelers in Florence, AL. “She was without a home, so gladly we shared ours,” says Brandi Hammock. “She now rules here at CJ’s and we and our customers love it!

See all of our Fu...

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Furry friends on the job: Callie, the boxer, and Jewels, the poodle

9 DAYS AGO
Furry friends on the job: Callie, the boxer, and Jewels, the poodle

Callie, the boxer, and Jewels, the poodle, “work” at Scott and Sons Fine Jewelry on Amelia Island in FL. Jewels (gotta love the name and the pink toenails) has been going to the store since she was just a pup and is a greeter extraordinaire. Callie is more bashful, which is hard to believe after see...

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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..


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