Employment Practices Liability

Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance is increasingly seen as essential cover for business, particularly for small-medium sized businesses. If not properly managed, legal costs in employment disputes can quickly outstrip the value of an EPL claim making resolution very difficult.

Our approach to these claims focus on commerciality and a high degree of proactive management to swiftly resolve claims. We do this in several ways:

  • Actively engage insureds early and directly around the legal realities of their position (including obligations to the insurer) while recognising the emotional aspect of such disputes, handling them in a sensitive but commercially realistic way.
  • The use of specialist EPL lawyers who appreciate the commercial imperatives and sensitivities, and who are familiar with the policy triggers and exclusions and the commercial drivers for insurers.
  • Exploiting the conciliation process and/or encouraging pre-action mediation.

Our lawyers have specific expertise in unfair dismissal and unlawful termination claims, adverse action claims, bullying and harassment claims, and discrimination claims. This work includes submissions and appearances before Fair Work Australia, the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court and the various State and Territory anti-discrimination tribunals.

In addition to claims advice, we offer a range of additional services including: policy coverage reviews; bespoke training aimed at mitigating likely claims and typical business issues; and helplines designed to prevent the early escalation of claims.

Recent examples of our EPL experience include:

• Defending an employer in a sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination claim in the Federal Court arising out of conduct involving the CEO and senior employees of a funeral business.

• Successfully defending to judgment a general protection claim in the Federal Court arising out of the termination of a rigger who had developed a heart condition.

• Acting in a complex general protection claim before the Victorian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission arising out of the termination of an employee allegedly based on his sexual orientation.

• Representing a not-for-profit organisation in defence of proceedings commenced before the Australian Human Rights Commission and then the Federal Court by an employee alleging she was sexually harassed, bullied, victimised and discriminated against before her employment was terminated.

• Defending a claim for racial discrimination and vilification against a waste disposal company and its senior employees in the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal.