Harassment and discrimination in the workplace are not new, but these kinds of wrongdoings have gained attention in recent months. The AAHA Business Insurance Program recently highlighted two employment practice liability scenarios to avoid in its spring newsletter.

Sexual harassment in the workplace
A doctor frequently made sexually inappropriate and insulting remarks to coworkers. This soon led to more personal remarks and physical advances on one female coworker. Her complaints were repeatedly brushed off and dismissed as being overly sensitive. She was told to “lighten up” and the owner failed to investigate her allegations, despite witnessing the inappropriate behavior. Just days after the complaint, the practice fired the employee. She then sued the practice in court, alleging sexual harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. The case settled for $200,000 and the practice paid $125,000 in legal fees.

Racial discrimination when hiring new employees
Two veterinary practices merged and one doctor was tasked with hiring a veterinary assistant to support the growing business. The final talent pool was comprised of one Latino applicant and one Caucasian applicant. The Latino applicant’s work background was extensive and took place at reputable practices, but the doctor hired the Caucasian applicant despite a less impressive resume and limited work experience. The doctor rationalized that the new practice location served a predominately Caucasian clientele, so she was making a decision in the business’s best interest. When the Latino applicant found out they hired the less-qualified candidate, he took immediate action and filed a claim of racial discrimination, which cost the practice $150,000 in defense costs.

Is your practice prepared in the event of a claim? Call 866-380-AAHA (2242) or email [email protected] to learn more today!

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