Medical practices are very busy, and staff must perform their duties in the most-professional manner possible. Medical staffs tend to be large, and employees must interact with each other in appropriate, professional ways. The facility’s leaders must act in the same way as any new hire, and any misconduct cannot go ignored or minimized. To help in case claims of employment misconduct arise, the practice might need employment practices liability insurance, or EPLI coverage. However, training is also important to help employees understand their professional obligations.
Keep your EPLI coverage up-to-date at all times, but don’t forget that you have to monitor employee conduct throughout your operations. It’s not just important to patients, but also to those who come to work every day.
The Necessity of EPLI Insurance
As a medical employer, you have to manage people appropriately. The better your practice functions, the better your services might prove to your clients. So, should conflict arise among employees, you have to respond.
EPLI insurance might be able to help you out in these cases. It’s a specific type of liability insurance that applies to allegations of misconduct in the workplace, in hiring, retention and termination of employment. Should allegations of such problems arise, they could amount to lawsuits and settlement costs by disgruntled employees. EPLI coverage might help you cover costs of this nature.
Suppose, for example, that an employee alleges discrimination and harassment within the property. They might accuse another employee of this action, or the practice’s administration itself of wrongdoing. The EPLI policy can help you respond to these actions.
Risk Avoidance Can Help Prevent EPLI Claims
Of course, it is always good to have EPLI policies in place in case problems arise. However, you never want to face an EPLI claim in the first place. On one hand, an EPLI claim could do heavy, public damage to your practice’s reputation. Any settlements and losses could also put the business in a stubborn financial position.
Additionally, there is a very fine line between an allegation of misconduct, and one that is an illegal act under U.S. employment law. Criminal acts also have no coverage under insurance policies, either.
That’s why part of your employment structure should be to prevent EPLI risks. Some of the steps you might need to take include:
- Establish a clearly-worded code of conduct for all employees.
- Always be careful when hiring new employees. You must treat all applicants with respect, but you also should know when someone might pose a liability risk.
- Not only should there be rules, there should also be an established process for dealing with allegations of misconduct. Employees should know who they can report problems to, when they can do so, and understand that the can do so without fear.
- Take all allegations of misconduct seriously. You should have an internal investigative process, one that you follow scrupulously even if claims prove completely unfounded.
- Ensure that all employees receive ongoing training in professionalism within the workplace.
- Have clearly-defined rules for your hiring and termination practices. Also remember to have a process for employee promotions and reviews.
- Keep records. The appropriate documentation of how you recorded and analyzed both day-to-day employee documentation and extraordinary circumstances.
Should a lawsuit arise over these allegations, you have to respond appropriately. Usually, it is best to leave the internal investigation itself to the appropriate parties. If your practice has its own human resources group, they might be able to handle the claim. You should never attempt to retaliate against the person making the claim against you.
However, you will also likely need to contact both your lawyer and your EPLI insurer. They can give you further instructions on how you should respond to these claims. You should never engage with the person making the allegation without doing so through the proper channels.