09272016Tue
Last updateTue, 20 Sep 2016 11pm
The partnership that produced a golden egg

The partnership that produced a golden egg

Based on a mutual respect and appreciation for eac...

24K Club SEUS honors Mark & Rhonda Jacobson with 2016 Jeweler of the Year Award

24K Club SEUS honors Mark & Rhonda Jacobson with 2016 Jeweler of the Year Award

(SMYRNA, Ga.) - Mark and Rhonda Jacobson, owners of...

Alabama’s Saltwater Seminar announces new venue at Perdido Beach Resort

Alabama’s Saltwater Seminar announces new venue at Perdido Beach Resort

The Alabama Jewelers Association (AJA) invites all...

Kentucky Jeweler identifies credit card scam

Kentucky Jeweler identifies credit card scam

One occurrence is an anomaly. Two instances of a p...

TJA examines gemstone treatments at Annual Conference

TJA examines gemstone treatments at Annual Conference

The Tennessee Jewelers Association (TJA) hosted it...

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Tracking gold’s ups and downs

Tracking gold’s ups and downs

King Midas lusted after it. The Incas worshipped it. Shiny flakes of it set off a 19th-century rush to California and ship captains never stop looking for it at the bottom of the sea. While gold has ignited passions for centuries, for today’s investo...

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Industry Events

Join ISG on a diamond mining field trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park

Join ISG on a diamond mining field trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park

The International School of Gemology (ISG) has announced a field trip to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This is a great opportunity to visit a real diamond mine and share knowledge and fun with ISG Global Network members...

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On The Move

Jeff Sadowsky named President of Global Fine Jewels

Jeff Sadowsky named President of Global Fine Jewels

Global Fine Jewels (GFJ), a division of world dia­mond trade leader Jay Gems, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff Sadowsky as its new President. Sadowsky, a 48-year veteran of the jewelry industry, previously worked as Director of Acquisit...

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What's New

ELLE Time & Jewelry unveils Essence 2.0

ELLE Time & Jewelry unveils Essence 2.0

(DALLAS) - ELLE Time & Jewelry is excited to announce the release of Essence 2.0, the much requested extension to their best-selling Essence collection. 2.0 includes a fresh twist on the two stone trend by combining cushion cut and round cut spark...

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Featured Articles

Retailer Roundtable: What do you expect to be your holiday hot sellers?

Retailer Roundtable: What do you expect to be your holiday hot sellers?

Q:  What do you expect to be your holiday hot sellers?

“Two-stone rings haven’t performed real well for us, despite marketing the whiz out of it. Each holiday season we do very well with bridal. This year I’ve invested in Fire Polish to help increase ...

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Latest News

Tracking gold’s ups and downs

6 DAYS AGO
Tracking gold’s ups and downs

King Midas lusted after it. The Incas worshipped it. Shiny flakes of it set off a 19th-century rush to California and ship captains never stop looking for it at the bottom of the sea. While gold has ignited passions for centuries, for today’s investors, it seems, the metal has lost its allure. After...

Readmore

De Beers: Millennials spent over $25 Billion on diamond jewelry in 2015

6 DAYS AGO
De Beers: Millennials spent over $25 Billion on diamond jewelry in 2015

(IDEX Online) – Millennials spent more than $25 billion on diamond jewelry in 2015 in the four largest consumer markets, acquiring more than any other generational group, according to De Beers' Diamond Insight Report 2016.

Despite Millennials (those aged 15-34 in 2015) facing more financial challenge...

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Join ISG on a diamond mining field trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park

12 DAYS AGO
Join ISG on a diamond mining field trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park

The International School of Gemology (ISG) has announced a field trip to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This is a great opportunity to visit a real diamond mine and share knowledge and fun with ISG Global Network members, and those thinking about joining.

Readmore

JIS teams with Texas Jewelers Association to offer free trip to JIS Miami Show October 2016

12 DAYS AGO
JIS teams with Texas Jewelers Association to offer free trip to JIS Miami Show October 2016

Winner of trip for 2 to October Show will be announced at TJA Convention Sept. 25 th

 

(AUSTIN, Tex.) - There is no other selection of shows like that of Jewelers International Showcase (JIS), and one lucky attendee of the Texas Jewelers Association (TJA) 2016 Convention has the chance to win a trip for...

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Jeff Sadowsky named President of Global Fine Jewels

6 DAYS AGO
Jeff Sadowsky named President of Global Fine Jewels

Global Fine Jewels (GFJ), a division of world dia­mond trade leader Jay Gems, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff Sadowsky as its new President. Sadowsky, a 48-year veteran of the jewelry industry, previously worked as Director of Acquisitions at GBC, Inc., and most recently as Vice Presi...

Readmore

Quality Gold acquires North American Jewelers, Inc.

12 DAYS AGO

(FAIRFIELD, Ohio) - Quality Gold has purchased North American Jewelers, Inc. (NAJ) the Chicago based supplier known for bridal and special occasion diamond jewelry. Along with NAJ, Quality Gold now owns Steckbeck Jewelry PVT LTD (STJPL), its wholly owned subsidiary and manufacturing facility opened i...

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ELLE Time & Jewelry unveils Essence 2.0

6 DAYS AGO
ELLE Time & Jewelry unveils Essence 2.0

(DALLAS) - ELLE Time & Jewelry is excited to announce the release of Essence 2.0, the much requested extension to their best-selling Essence collection. 2.0 includes a fresh twist on the two stone trend by combining cushion cut and round cut sparkling CZs in one design. Retail prices range from $...

Readmore

Stuller releases new 1,000-page mountings catalog

6 DAYS AGO
Stuller releases new 1,000-page mountings catalog

New styles, easy navigation, and more product detail than ever

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Continuing to improve upon its 46-year foundation, Stuller, Inc. is excited to announce the release of its newest catalog, Mountings 2017-2018, just in time for the holiday season.

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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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