A new study of employment practices litigation (EPL) data by Hiscox found four states — California, Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi — along with the District of Columbia, to be the riskiest areas of the U.S. for employee lawsuits. Businesses in these five jurisdictions face a risk that is substantially higher than the national average for being sued by their employees.
According to the study, a U.S.-based business with at least 10 employees has a 12.5% chance each year of having an employment liability charge filed against it. California has the most frequent incidences of EPL charges in the country, with a 42% higher-than-average chance of being sued by an employee. Other high-risk jurisdictions include the District of Columbia (32% above the national average), Illinois (26%), Alabama (25%), Mississippi (19%), Arizona (19%) and Georgia (18%). Lower-risk states for EPL charges include West Virginia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Kentucky and Washington.
Bert Spunberg, a colleague at Hiscox who is a senior vice president and the practice leader for executive risk, says: “Federal level information on employee charges is generally available, but state specific information is more difficult to aggregate. Understanding employee litigation risk at a state level is a crucial step for an organization to establish the processes and protections to effectively manage their risk in this changing legal environment.”
State laws can have a significant impact on risk. For example, the employee-friendly nature of California law in the area of disability discrimination may contribute to the high charge frequency in the state. Discrimination cases filed at the state level in California are brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA applies to a broader swath of businesses, covering any company with five employees, vs. a 15-employee minimum for cases brought under federal law as outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Mark Ogden, managing partner of Littler Mendelson, the largest employment and labor law firm in the world, says: “Not only are employment lawsuits more likely in those states, but the likelihood of catastrophic verdicts is also significantly higher. Unlike their federal counterparts, where compensatory and punitive damages combined are capped at $300,000, most state employment statutes impose no damages ceilings. Consequently, employers in high-risk states must ensure that their workforces are adequately trained regarding workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation and that policies forbidding such conduct are strictly enforced.”
For more on the study, click here.
A scorned woman, a programmer with dual personalities, a rival executive literally in the closet and a double-crossing brother. That’s a good foundation for a Greek tragedy or a modern-day telenovela, or the current season of Leap Year.
In a near perfect storm of personal and professional challenges, the C3D team is on the verge of a complete breakdown, and nowhere closer to getting their product ready for the launch. The Kiss continues to reverberate back at the C3D offices and the late nights there are more about loneliness and soul-searching than the all night programming sessions people normally expect at a startup.
Bryn’s decision to take matters (and June Pepper) into her own hands will only up everyone’s stress levels. It feels like the whole team is getting close to their breaking point, especially Aaron. Kicked out of his home and looking forward to sleepless nights at the office, he then finds out it was his brother Derek who’s been spying on them and helping the enemy this whole time.
Firing Derek couldn’t have been much easier for Aaron than telling Lisa he hooked up with Bryn. And who knows what else Derek shared with their rivals? There’s no insurance for a shattered relationship, but C3D could have protected themselves against future problems at the company caused by Derek’s professional negligence, even now that he’s gone. Their professional liability policy would cover them for past acts of their employees. This is important, because who knows exactly what Derek’s been up to these past few weeks, or even what he did right after Aaron told him to pack up and leave. Besides, who wants to worry about employees continuing to hurt you even after they’re gone?
Now that C3D has added kidnapping to their list of regular business tactics, what’s next? Jack challenging Sam the CEO of Livefye to an old fashioned duel? Things are starting to get really, really interesting, and dangerous.
After the last couple weeks, do you think C3D is starting to lose their moral compass? Or are they just doing what’s necessary to survive and beat the competition?