Employment Liability Practices For Farms with Pioneer State Mutual

Growing Risks

In today’s workplace, farmers face unique and growing employment-related risks. There are a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Many hire seasonal and temporary workers or independent contractors who may feel less affinity towards their farm employers.
  • Age, racial, and gender issues are often a concern that can lead to discrimination lawsuits.
  • The work may be physically demanding and the pay modest, causing feelings of entitlement.
  • Turnover is typically high.
  • Farms typically do not have human resource departments or specialized employment attorneys to advise them on employment practices.

The Risk is Real

These risks can turn into liability issues for farm owners. While most farm owners consider themselves good and fair employers, any employee could still allege an employment-related charge. Even unmerited and unsubstantiated claims can cost a farmer thousands of dollars in legal defense fees.

Despite this risk, many farm owners do not have EPL coverage.

Broad Coverage, Meaningful Limits

Pioneer’s EPL program combines a broad range of coverages with meaningful limits and valuable risk management services to help farm owners prevent employment related charges. It includes the following:

  • Coverage for claims brought by full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal farm employees, as well as volunteers and applicants for employment.
  • Optional third-party coverage for discrimination and harassment claims brought by customers or vendors.
  • Portfolio limit options between $50,000 and $250,000, including defense costs within limits.
  • Access to dedicated EPL claim specialists.
  • Web-based EPL Loss Prevention services to help employers reduce their EPL exposures.
  • EPL Legal Advice Helpline that gives employers access to experienced employment attorneys who can provide general council on a range of employment issues in order to prevent legal issues.

Affordable and Easy

Many still think that EPL coverage is high-priced and only suitable for large employers. On the contrary, this EPL program is surprisingly affordable because it is custom tailored for farms.

Coverage is available on a referral basis for employers with 51 to 250 full-time equivalent employees or limit options of $500,000 or $1,000,000.

Covers a Range of Allegations

The Pioneer Employment Practices Liability (EPL) program provides an easy and affordable solution to protect farm owners from employment-related claims. It can pay liability and defense costs for a wide range of employment-related allegations, such as the following:

  • Discrimination (Including race, gender and age discrimination)
  • Harassment (Including sexual harassment)
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Failure to hire or promote
  • Retaliation
  • Negligent supervision or hiring
  • Violation of civil rights related to one of the above.

Examples of Real Claims

Gender and Race Discrimination

Crop Farm - $25,000 settlement & legal fees in excess of $5,000

An applicant for employment alleged that a crop farm initially refused to hire her based on her gender, race and disability. After she repeatedly applied, she alleged that they begrudgingly hired her and then treated her poorly. She alleged that they forced her to work long hours even when she complained about her condition. The employee sued and the farm ultimately settled for $25,000.

Wrongful Termination

Dairy Farm – Defense expenses more than $10,000

A 59-year-old dairy farm employee sued his employer for wrongful termination, claiming that, despite working there for several years, he was terminated in favor of a younger, less qualified employee. The manager disputed his claim and suggested that the farm had tried unsuccessfully to find a suitable position for the employee. The farm had allowed the employee to try several positions, both in the production facility and the small on-site dairy store. After the employee’s job performance failed to improve, he was terminated. Although the claim settled in favor of the dairy farm, defense expenses totaled more than $10,000.

Check out our mobile app! With it you can pay your bill, report a claim, call for Roadside Assistance, and even access your Proof of Insurance!

Check out our Mobile App!

For more information on the Pioneer Employment Practices Liability (EPL) program, contact one of Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Company’s Independent Insurance Agents.


Created with images by Visionsi - "Farmer is working on the organic farm with dairy cows" • gpointstudio - "Close up of box with ripe vegetables"

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