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Business Owners Beware: Do You Have Insurance For Sexual Harassment Claims By Non-Employees?

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  • Business Owners Beware: Do You Have Insurance For Sexual Harassment Claims By Non-Employees?

In our last blog we covered the effect that recent changes in New York’s sexual harassment laws will have on private employers. Here, we focus on the potential exposure these changes could have on your business.

Effective April 12, 2018, the protections that the New York State Human Rights Law affords to New York employees were expanded to non-employees including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and consultants. The result is that now a non-employee can make a sexual harassment claim against a company doing business in New York, and the company may be liable if one of its employees sexually harassed her and the company knew or should have known about it and did nothing to immediately address it.

In short, New York companies now are susceptible to workplace sexual harassment claims from both employees and non-employees. Merits aside, simply defending a sexual harassment claim is costly. Because of this, many companies purchase employment practices liability insurance – also known as EPL insurance – to cover them in case of a sexual harassment claim.

Unfortunately, the recent change in the law may leave your business exposed. Historically, EPL insurance companies provide coverage for sexual harassment claims made by employees in the workplace. This insurance generally doesn’t cover claims by non-employees without a special additional endorsement. As a result, given the expansion of New York law, it’s wise to check with your insurance agent to determine your possible exposure in the event of a sexual harassment claim by a non-employee. Defending even a baseless claim can be expensive.

Whether you’re a proactive business or an unfortunate employer facing a claim of sexual harassment, the attorneys at The Coppola Firm have the experience to protect your business.

Lisa Coppola

Written by Lisa Coppola

Founder of The Coppola Firm

Lisa A. Coppola, Esq. understands the challenges her clients face, whether they’re starting a new business, taking their existing operations in a new direction, or facing a claim or threat.

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