FARMINGTON, CONN., Sept. 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Beazley, a leading insurer of employment practices liability risks, has today launched Beazley Workplace Protect, a policy that reflects the growing need for wage and hour coverage for U.S. employers accused of denying employees appropriate compensation under complex and evolving labor laws.
Wage and hour lawsuits are proliferating. The years 2000 to 2014 saw a near 440% increase1 in the number of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases filed in Federal Court. The catalyst for this change has been the adoption by a variety of industries of new employment practices such as mobile workforces and flexible working patterns. This has coincided with a series of interpretations of the FLSA that furnish new litigation opportunities for the plaintiffs' bar. In 2015 alone examples include:
- The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S Department of Labor issuing new guidance2 that is likely to lead to more workers being classified as 'employees' rather than self-employed contractors.
- Proposals to more than double the salary level that triggers the exemption from overtime entitlement of white collar workers.2
- A Federal appeals court upholding a Labor Department regulation that extends minimum wage and overtime payment to almost two million home care workers.3
Beazley Workplace Protect provides wage and hour coverage along with employment practices liability insurance for allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and privacy violations. Cover also automatically includes outside directors and third party wrongful acts.
Beazley is committed to helping organizations prevent claims from ever arising. All Beazley Workplace Protect customers will have access to BeazleySure, an online platform that provides policyholders comprehensive risk management support, including sexual harassment prevention training, a dedicated telephone hotline, and procedures in English and Spanish.
Due to a competitive retention structure, Beazley Workplace Protect will be particularly attractive to organisations with in excess of 1,000 employees. While submissions will be considered from a wide range of employers, demand is expected to be greatest in six industries: manufacturing; retail; hospitality; transportation; technology; and healthcare.
Wayne Imrie, management liability underwriter, said: "Lawsuits by employees form one of the largest categories of litigation brought against U.S. entities. As wage and hour related actions continue to grow at a record rate4, the need for organisations to be protected is set to increase.
"Today even the most informed and diligent employer runs the risk of a legal challenge from either collective actions or individual employees. We have designed Beazley Workplace Protect to safeguard organizations from well-established risks such as harassment and discrimination, along with emerging threats arising from the continuing structural changes to the U.S. labor market."
- Society for Human Resource Management website; 22 May 2014.
- United States Department of Labor website.
- The Wall Street Journal website; Appeals court revives rule adding pay protections for home-health aides; 21 August 2015.
- Seyfarth Shaw Annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report; January 2015.