Posted June 13, 2018 by Administrator
Sexual harassment isn’t an issue that is unique to farming. However, the conditions common to farming present a significant number of opportunities and the victims often lack resources to make it stop. A significant portion of the problem occurs when farmers contract out their labor rather than hiring their workers directly. These farmhands are often unfamiliar with harassment laws or don’t know their rights. They also fear retaliation for speaking out so they remain silent.
How to Recognize Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment isn’t always overt, as it can be verbal as well physical. It can occur before, during, or after working hours when a supervisor or co-worker makes unwelcome advances while operating within the scope of employment. Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Unwanted sexual commentary, jokes, written notes, or derogatory remarks of a sexual nature
- Unwanted and intentional touching of a sexual nature or on an intimate area of the body
- Wielding a position of authority to extort sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or preferential treatment
Any sexual action that creates a hostile work environment opens an employer up to a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Employers’ and Supervisors’ Obligations to Farm Workers
Any authority figure on the farm needs to take pains to avoid committing harassing behaviors as well as identify and correct inappropriate employee conduct. Supervisors who fail to put a stop to sexual harassment can be held liable in a lawsuit for tolerating offensive behavior. As such, all farming operations need to have a complaint procedure that allows victims to report harassment without fear of retribution. Employers should also include at least one female employee as a complaint receiver as many female victims don’t feel comfortable reporting to a male.
Farms should also implement clear disciplinary guidelines for sexual harassment claims. By following procedures every time, employers can eliminate the perception of discrimination or preferential treatment. Employers should also follow up on any reports of harassment to ensure it actually stops. When cases of employee sexual harassment make it to the courtroom, judges consider if the employer learned about the problem as soon as possible, how the employer addressed it, and what steps the employer took to prevent it in the future.
Protecting Employees and the Farm
Farming operations accused of creating a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment can find themselves at the center of an expensive lawsuit. Farms often operate on tight budgets, and a lawsuit can be enough to shut it down permanently. While taking steps to prevent sexual harassment in the first place is key, farmers can also invest in insurance to protect themselves and their agribusiness. Contact Cline Wood to learn more.
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.
Posted January 18, 2017 by Administrator
Maintaining a successful farm is not an easy job. Some may argue it is not a job at all, but a way of life. Unfortunately, farms face a number of threats that jeopardize farmers’ livelihood. In order to ensure a thriving farming environment, farmers need to be aware of the risks and take measures to mitigate them. The best way to do so is by investing in coverages that are uniquely tailored to the risk exposure of your area and the nature of your business.
Types of Insurance All Farmers Need
With the right insurance, farmers can remove the stress of worrying about risk factors and instead focus on the farm itself. There are four types of insurance all farmers should consider.
- Farm liability protection. This insurance protects individuals from losing their farms because of liability issues. This includes bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to other people’s property. It can also provide legal defense if necessary.
- Dwelling coverage. This is often part of a homeowner’s insurance policy. It provides coverage for damage to the individual’s home in the event of a disaster. Some examples include hail, windstorms, theft, and vandalism.
- Farm equipment coverage. This type of insurance offers coverage for farming equipment, materials, and machines. This insurance can provide blanket protection up to a certain dollar amount or individuals can itemize high-cost items.
- Barn insurance. Farmers purchase this type of insurance for barns and other buildings on their property. Some examples include buildings that house livestock, equipment, and so on.
By taking these necessary precautions, farmers can reduce their risk. This will allow farmers to focus more of their attention on operating their farm than worrying about what threatens it. To learn more about how insurance can improve your agribusiness, contact the experts at Cline Wood.