In the last 10 years, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has obtained $1.6 billion against employers in connection with cases alleging discrimination.
Federal laws prohibit job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Equal Pay Act prohibits sex-based wage discrimination; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects those who are 40 years of age or older; and the Americans with Disabilities Act protects qualified individuals with disabilities. State statutes may also apply in these areas.
Are congregations immune from this activity? Often they are not. Employment disputes are a major source of litigation for churches – accounting for 19% of lawsuits.
Ready for another surprise?
Most church property and liability policies do not offer Employment Practices Liability. Those that do, have an exhaustive application process and a hefty premium to endorse coverage. That is not the case with your IB Program!
Consider this: a Pastor was terminated by a local church based on the church’s constitutional right to free exercise of religion in the selection of ministers. The Pastor filed a wrongful termination lawsuit alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with prospective economic advantage. This case is less than 2 years old and to date checks totaling $50,000 in defense costs have been cut and $135,000 more is set aside in reserves for future defense. No matter the outcome, the reputation of the church is at stake, the Pastor is having his day in court for justice to prevail. The bottom line is this – without Employment Practices Liability Coverage – a congregation is left to raise the money to pay for defense costs. Fortunately, this church was covered with the Insurance Board’s standard EPLI coverage. Another church was not so lucky, and just 6 months after leaving our program to cut costs, was hit with an EPL lawsuit, with no EPL coverage in the new policy.
The Insurance Board Program provides $1 million of EPLI at no additional charge with a $50 million dollar umbrella.
Does your church have this vital coverage?
More information on Employment Practices and Discrimination Prevention Policy is available in our Loss Control Manual “Caring For Our Churches” posted on our website at www.insuranceboard.org in the Services section. Or feel free to call us at 1-800-437-8830 for a complimentary copy.
Be sure to review your church property & liability policy to see if you have this fundamental coverage. Or contact our Regional Agents – Mark Wilson at (309)664-1800 or Patricia Stein at (815) 635-1139 for a competitive proposal from the UCCIB.