The rise of the #MeToo movement and women fighting back against sexual harassment is having a direct impact on American businesses large and small. The largest visible impact can be seen in Hollywood and in the entertainment industry. Less visible is the impact the movement is having on small businesses including cannabis related businesses. Employer’s protection liability becomes more necessary as these issues continue to arise.
Small and midsize businesses like those found in the world of cannabis are not immune to claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. A study by Source Media found that women at companies that employ fewer than 100 people are more likely to say that sexual harassment is highly prevalent in their industry than those at larger firms. This translates directly to cannabis related business and employers as many of these business are in the start up stage and often start with less than 100 employees. Harassment claims are not going away and instead are increasing, which could represent substantial financial losses for your business, especially if you are a small startup. The average discrimination claim among small or midsize businesses is more than $100,000, with some resulting in damages more than $500,000. Employer’s protection liability insurance policies generally cover claims made by workers who sue your business for violating their legal rights. Examples include sexual harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you should start by telling the person who is doing the harassment to stop — if you feel comfortable doing so. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, or if the behavior continues despite your efforts, there are some key steps to take.
According to the EEOC, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you have the legal right to be protected from discrimination in the workplace if your company has 15 or more employees. State laws or employer policies might also offer additional protections.
Check to see if your company has an anti-harassment policy. It may be on the employer’s web site or in their employee handbook, or you can get it from human resources.
When making the decision to invest in a cannabis related business one of the first questions all potential investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners should be asking is what are the risks? At S2S Insurance we specialize in helping you evaluate those risks and protect your investment based on the various levels of exposure found in the risk assessment. Eric Rahn of S2S Insurance states, “Cannabis insurance is becoming a very specialized niche in the insurance industry. Not all insurance agents/brokers have the knowledge about the risks in the cannabis industry.” At S2S Insurance we recognize the growing risk associated with sexual harassment in the work place and would review employer’s protection policies with all of our clients based on the size and make up of their cannabis related business. An employer’s protection liability policy is a good form of risk mitigation, but it should be understood that policy limits apply and all policies should be reviewed by the business owner, a qualified S2S Insurance agent, and an attorney.