The Gift of Giving: Protecting Your Organization
EPL and Donated Funds
No employer wants to believe that their employees or volunteers would take legal action against them, especially in a not for profit organization. Unfortunately, over the past decade, employment practice liability (EPL) has become one of the largest risks faced by organizations in both the not for profit and for-profit sectors. According to the most recent U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Performance and Accountability Report, the number of private sector charges of discrimination filed with the agency was just under 100,000.
While these types of claims hurt any organization’s bottom line, they can be especially detrimental to not for profits that rely on donations to make up a large portion of their revenue stream. Donors want their money to be used to help your organization’s cause, not to pay off mistreated employees. In some cases, donors have actually sued not for profits over how their donations were used. To protect your organization against potential liability, it’s important that you minimize EPL claims while accurately documenting the use of donated funds. With the potential costs they may bring, an EPL claim can be incredibly damaging to a not for profit organization, especially a small one. Implementing appropriate employment practice standards to stop harassment and discrimination will reduce the chances of an employee making a claim, while also creating a positive atmosphere throughout your organization.
To protect yourself from further legal action, you must be very careful when dealing with employees who have filed EPL claims. Don’t make any rash decisions regarding the employee’s state in your organization. If the employee must receive disciplinary action for other work issues that aren’t related to their EPL claim, make sure to accurately document the reasons for the discipline. It’s important you can prove that you weren’t acting in retaliation for their earlier claim. When in doubt, contact your legal counsel so they can help you handle the situation in a way that doesn’t invite additional liability.
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