Just in time for the holidays, we learned that one of our favorite reports has been updated: The 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits (PDF). It’s a useful benchmark for the cost of employee discrimination claims. This issuance is an update from the 2015 report on employee lawsuits, which we posted previously and cite often: Your odds of an employment lawsuit – and what it would cost.

In the current study, Hiscox turned to the latest data on employment charge activity from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and its state counterparts across the US. To determine the costs of employee lawsuits, they conducted a representative study of 1,214 closed claims reported by small- to medium- sized employers (fewer than 500 employees).

The report covers the following topics

  • What constitutes discrimination
  • How charges are brought
  • Which states are the riskiest
  • Key state laws that exceed federal recommendations
  • Most frequent charges
  • The cost of lawsuits
  • Recommendations for prevention, detection and mitigation

Claims by the numbers

  • 10% of small to mid-sized businesses face an employment charge of discrimination of some kind, down from nearly 12% in 2015
  • 318 days – average time to settle a claim, up from 275 in 2015
  • 24% of employment charges resulted in defense and settlement costs, up from 19% in 2015
  • $160,000 – average cost for claims that resulted in defense & settlement payments, up from $125,000 in 2015

Frequency of charges
Hiscox notes that a typical charge can involve more than one claim.

  • 45.9% Retaliation
  • 35.3% Race
  • 29.4% Sex
  • 30.7% Disability
  • 22.8% Age
  • 10.8% National Origin
  • 4.2% Religion
  • 3.4% Color

The 2017 Employment Law Year in Review

Recently, Suzanne “Evil HR Lady” Lucas moderated  a one-hour webinar covering the 2017 Employment Law Year in Review. Presenters included five leading employment-law bloggers — Eric Meyer, Jon Hyman, Jeff Nowak, Dan Schwartz, and Robin Shea — as they tackled the big employment law stories of the past year. Issues include sexual harassment, medical marijuana, sexual orientation, politicized workplaces, federal overtime rules and more. Many more.

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