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Jewelers Helping Jewelers

Jewelers Helping Jewelers

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

Leading the state in estate jewelry

Leading the state in estate jewelry

Levy’s capitalizing on estate jewelry popularity

Es...

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

ASHI launches #LovebrightValentine Sweepstakes

 

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

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Retailer Roundtable: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?

Q: What is your outlook for the industry in 2017?  

“...

How will Trump’s election affect retail jewelers?

How will Trump’s election affect retail jewelers?

President-elect Donald Trump has been in the publi...

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Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

(NEW YORK) - Citizen Watch Company, Ltd., parent of Bulova Corporation and Citizen Watch Company of America has completed the integration of the two companies into one organization, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. The company will do business i...

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Industry Events

GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

Alumni party, colored stone services, unique exhibits, expert talks and more

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA’s not-to-miss activities and services will enrich the visitor experience at the 2017 Tucson Shows, including an out-of-this-world alumni event, show s...

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On The Move

JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

Jim Rosenheim receives Lifetime Achievement and Grace Fuller, Kay® Jewelers, Lucia Silvestri for BVLGARI and Patek Philippe win

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, h...

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What's New

New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

Voyager Brands’ new line targets customers from teens to grandmothers

(AUSTIN, Tex.) - Something new, different, random, abstract - that’s Voyager Brands’ new Love Universe collection of earrings, rings, pendants, small necklaces and bracelets. It’s fu...

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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...

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Latest News

Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

4 DAYS AGO
Citizen Watch Company announces newly integrated company – Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc

(NEW YORK) - Citizen Watch Company, Ltd., parent of Bulova Corporation and Citizen Watch Company of America has completed the integration of the two companies into one organization, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. The company will do business in the Trade as Citizen Watch America.

Readmore

Jewelers of Louisiana opens application for funds to benefit jewelers impacted by Louisiana floods

4 DAYS AGO
Jewelers of Louisiana opens application for funds to benefit jewelers impacted by Louisiana floods

(NEW ORLEANS) - Over 100 people employed in the jewelry industry were impacted by the August floods in South Louisiana. Jewelers of Louisiana, a statewide organization representing over 1,500 employees, has established a fund to help anyone in the jewelry industry affected by the floods. Over $3,700 ...

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GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

4 DAYS AGO
GIA’s colorful lineup at Tucson 2017 Gem Shows

Alumni party, colored stone services, unique exhibits, expert talks and more

(CARLSBAD, Calif.) - GIA’s not-to-miss activities and services will enrich the visitor experience at the 2017 Tucson Shows, including an out-of-this-world alumni event, show service laboratory, fascinating exhibits, expert ta...

Readmore

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

18 DAYS AGO
Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair coming in February

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai government has extended an invitation for U.S. jewelers to visit the upcoming 59th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2017. The Fair will be held February 22-26, 2017 at the IMPACT Exhibition & Conven...

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JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

4 DAYS AGO
JA announces 2017 GEM Awards winners

Jim Rosenheim receives Lifetime Achievement and Grace Fuller, Kay® Jewelers, Lucia Silvestri for BVLGARI and Patek Philippe win

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, held their 15th annual GEM Awards on Friday, Januar...

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Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

10 DAYS AGO
Stuller commits to promoting health and wellness in Louisiana

Company designated as a top-level WellSpot

(LAFAYETTE, La.) - Stuller is proud to announce that they have been named a level one WellSpot by Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health.

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New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

4 DAYS AGO
New and unique, Love Universe hits the market with broad appeal

Voyager Brands’ new line targets customers from teens to grandmothers

(AUSTIN, Tex.) - Something new, different, random, abstract - that’s Voyager Brands’ new Love Universe collection of earrings, rings, pendants, small necklaces and bracelets. It’s fun and enticing to women of all ages.

Retail prices ...

Readmore

MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

10 DAYS AGO
MJSA launches Council of Custom Jewelers as part of new Custom Design program

MJSA, a trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, has introduced the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers as part of a wide-ranging program to advance the art and consumer appreciation of custom jewelry design.

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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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