When it’s time to hire a personal assistant, nanny, housekeeper, gardener or other private staff, you picture finding a perfect match for your family and hope to consider that person a friend.
No matter how wonderful you feel about the relationship, you have become a domestic employer. There is always the possibility that one of your staff may accuse you or a family member of a wrongful act such as discrimination, sexual harassment or wrongful termination.
Because of this risk, anyone who has domestic help should obtain employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). EPLI protects you and your family members against harmful – or even false – employment allegations. It protects you financially and allows for the hiring of reputation management firms. Such firms can provide consulting for public relations, media management and security.
Don’t wait to purchase EPLI coverage until you have staff employed. You need it before you even start interviewing for the position. An interviewee may be offended by something you say or may accuse you of discrimination if not hired.
Depending on the size of your domestic staff, you may have to purchase a separate EPLI policy. If you have a smaller staff, usually five or fewer, you may be able to add the coverage to your homeowner, personal umbrella or family office policy. The coverage provides:
- Damages awarded
- Costs to defend the suit
- Costs to protect your reputation
Often this coverage also includes access to a specialist who can assist you in developing job descriptions and provide advice on interviewing potential employees and conducting background checks. Many also will help you develop a planned approach for hiring and recommend steps to keep your relationship on a professional employee-employer level.
Having domestic staff is supposed to reduce the stress in your life to allow you to enjoy the finer pleasures. But should a staff member allege they were wronged, your stress level likely will increase. Make sure you have someone in your corner during this stressful time. See your local independent insurance agent, who can advise you about EPLI coverage.
Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.