02222017Wed
Last updateTue, 14 Feb 2017 4pm
Retailer Roundtable: Is the bead trend over?

Retailer Roundtable: Is the bead trend over?

Q: Is the bead trend over?

“The bead trend is defin...

Jewelers Helping Jewelers

Jewelers Helping Jewelers

The Southern Jewelers Guild takes a look at the exp...

Paying tribute to one of the oldest bench jewelers in the southeast

Paying tribute to one of the oldest bench jewelers in the southeast

John Bosco:  May 23, 1924 - December 14, 2016

The f...

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

 

(NEW YORK) - After receiving a “fantastic response...

Other News

Printing up compassion in 3D

Printing up compassion in 3D

There is no remedy to cure the tragic hurt caused by the loss of a child. For a grieving parent, the best one can hope for is time to process the pain and a few happy memories. Time comes easy, but for parents of stillborn children, happy memories ar...

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Industry Events

Continental Buying Group conducts live, on-site testing for lab grown diamonds at January Show

Continental Buying Group conducts live, on-site testing for lab grown diamonds at January Show

GSI & G-Cal tests find 100% of vendors in compliance

As part of its ongoing commitment to excellence, the Continental Buying Group (CBG) conducted on-site testing of live diamond goods during the January 23-25, CBG Show in Orlando.

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On The Move

Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

Noble Group brings greater service, products, pricing for independent jewelers

(CEDAR GROVE, N.J.) - Noble Display and Packaging has announced the completion of its merger with J. Grant & Co., a display and packaging company known for designing and...

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What's New

Sterling Reputation releases 2017 Supplement

Sterling Reputation releases 2017 Supplement

Sunrise, FL-based supplier of fashion-forward, high quality sterling silver jewelry, Sterling Reputation is pleased to present it’s new 2017 supplement. The new supplement features 20 beautiful new styles, many tailored to the Millennial generation.

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: How was your Christmas season and what were your hot sellers?

Retailer Roundtable: How was your Christmas season and what were your hot sellers?

Q: How was your Christmas season and what were your hot sellers?  

“The actual numbers are still being tabulated, but what I can say is the numbers are close to 10 percent over last year’s holiday season. Which was quite a surprise as the months and we...

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Latest News

Printing up compassion in 3D

7 DAYS AGO
Printing up compassion in 3D

There is no remedy to cure the tragic hurt caused by the loss of a child. For a grieving parent, the best one can hope for is time to process the pain and a few happy memories. Time comes easy, but for parents of stillborn children, happy memories are often in short order.

Srdjan Urosev hopes his com...

Readmore

NRF forecasts retail sales will increase 3.7- 4.2 percent over 2016

7 DAYS AGO
NRF forecasts retail sales will increase 3.7- 4.2 percent over 2016

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its economic forecast for 2017 last week, projecting retail industry sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, will grow between 3.7 and 4.2 percent over 2016. Online and other non-store/online sales, which ...

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Continental Buying Group conducts live, on-site testing for lab grown diamonds at January Show

13 DAYS AGO
Continental Buying Group conducts live, on-site testing for lab grown diamonds at January Show

GSI & G-Cal tests find 100% of vendors in compliance

As part of its ongoing commitment to excellence, the Continental Buying Group (CBG) conducted on-site testing of live diamond goods during the January 23-25, CBG Show in Orlando.

Readmore

Estate jewelry speakers announced for 2017 Northwest Conference

21 DAYS AGO
Estate jewelry speakers announced for 2017 Northwest Conference

 

The Northwest Jewelry Conference (NWJC) has announced the lineup for its fifth year of small group estate jewelry education August 11-13, 2017 in Seattle, WA.

“Our selected instructors are asked to give insightful and original presentations to challenge a passionate group of antique and period jewel...

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Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

7 DAYS AGO
Noble Display and Packaging merges with J. Grant & Co.

Noble Group brings greater service, products, pricing for independent jewelers

(CEDAR GROVE, N.J.) - Noble Display and Packaging has announced the completion of its merger with J. Grant & Co., a display and packaging company known for designing and manufacturing Ice Grip displays, modular Breakawa...

Readmore

RDI Diamonds achieves Responsible Jewelry Council certification

13 DAYS AGO
RDI Diamonds achieves Responsible Jewelry Council certification

(LONDON) - The Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) has announced that RDI Diamonds, Inc. has achieved Certification against the 2013 Code of Practices (COP) at its trading office in New York.

Readmore

Sterling Reputation releases 2017 Supplement

7 DAYS AGO
Sterling Reputation releases 2017 Supplement

Sunrise, FL-based supplier of fashion-forward, high quality sterling silver jewelry, Sterling Reputation is pleased to present it’s new 2017 supplement. The new supplement features 20 beautiful new styles, many tailored to the Millennial generation.

Readmore

ASHI Diamonds launches Bridal 2017 Marketing program

7 DAYS AGO
ASHI Diamonds launches Bridal 2017 Marketing program

(NEW YORK) - ASHI Diamonds is pleased to unveil its 2017 Bridal Books - Elegance Redefined. ASHI’s bridal line caters to “any bride’s hunt for the perfect one for her,” said Rajeev Pandya, partner of ASHI Diamonds. “Whether it’s the intricate milgraining, delicate lattice work, or soft curves, ASHI’s...

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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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