Backing a vehicle is something we all probably do several times a day without giving it a whole lot of thought. But according to the national statistics on backing accidents, it is something we need to pay very close attention to from a loss control standpoint.
To give you an idea of the scope of this issue, here are some alarming statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Now consider the fact that we all drive thousands of miles going forward each year but probably only one or two miles in reverse!
Backing is not an easy maneuver, which can be further complicated by the following factors.
However, with all of these factors at play, there are best practices that drivers can follow to reduce the risk of a backing accident. Check out the Vehicle Backing Safety Factsheet for a guide to how your organization can practice safe vehicle backing.
For questions on safe vehicle backing or other safety issues, contact a member of SSCIP's Loss Control team today:
(602) 368-6626 /
(602) 368-6653 /
SSCIP Members can protect sensitive and confidential data by including copiers in their information security plan. Follow these tips to safeguard information:
1. Educate yourself and your employees about copier risks. Be aware of the information stored on the device and the risk if that data is stolen or the device is lost. Limit storage of sensitive data on such devices.
2. Assign responsibility. Make sure copiers are managed and maintained by your organization's IT or information security team. Employees who secure company computers and servers should also secure the data contained in the copiers.
3. Research and use your copier's security features or purchase extra security capabilities. Most newer models offer disk override or disk erase features that ensure each new document copy overrides the previous one; additionally, many copiers are equipped with data encryption capabilities.
4. Secure data before returning or disposing of your municipality's copiers. Review your options for securing the hard drive or internal memory with the copier manufacturer, dealer or servicing company. Some companies may handle data disposal for you. If returning to a leasing company, use easily available software to sanitize or "wipe clean" the hard drive and document the sanitization process.
5. Consider compliance responsibilities. Your organization may be required to follow specific compliance obligations depending on the information it stores, transits and receives. Make sure you're aware of state, federal and international requirements.
For more information regarding copier data security, contact SSCIP's Loss Control department at (602) 996-8810 or visit https://southwestrisk.breachresponse.com/
The Guidance is the first comprehensive update on the subject since 1983 and supersedes earlier guidance (Section 626: Pregnancy, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II;
Policy Guidance on the Supreme Court Decision in International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW v. Johnson Controls, Inc.) (1991)). The EEOC also released a related
“Q&A” document and
Fact Sheet for Small Businesses.
The controversial Guidance garnered the votes of only three of the Commission’s five members. In separate statements, Commissioners Constance S. Barker and Victoria A. Lipnic dissented from the agency’s adoption of the Guidance. Both noted the substance of the Guidance overstepped legal precedents and was a dramatic departure from existing law and the agency’s previous guidance. They criticized the agency for not making the Guidance available for public review and comment before the Commissioners had to vote, noting the move signaled a lack of transparency.
Part One of the Guidance’s four parts discusses the prohibitions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as clarified by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). Part Two discusses the application of the ADAAA’s accommodation and non-discrimination requirements and the definition of disability to pregnancy-related impairments. Part Three discusses other legal requirements affecting pregnant workers, including the FMLA. Part Four describes “Best Practices” for employers.
The Guidance’s more controversial requirements include the following:
(1) an employer policy of providing light duty only to employees with on-the-job injuries violates the PDA (Commissioner Lipnic noted that this position has not been adopted by any federal circuit court);
(2) an employer must provide accommodations to an employee with a normal and otherwise healthy pregnancy;
(3) certain employer inquiries, comments or discussions regarding an employee’s pregnancy or potential pregnancy are indicative of discrimination; and
(4) an employer health insurance plan must cover prescription contraceptives on the same basis as prescription medications that prevent medical conditions other than pregnancy.
The Guidance addresses circumstances under which employers may have to provide light duty to pregnant workers. The EEOC contends an employer may not refuse a pregnant worker’s request for light duty based on a policy that makes distinctions based on the source of an employee’s limitations (e.g., a policy of providing light duty only to workers injured on the job or to workers with an ADA-covered disability). The Guidance states that workers needing light duty due to on-the-job injuries or ADA-covered disabilities are appropriate similarly situated comparators to a pregnant worker needing light duty because they are similar to the pregnant worker in the ability or inability to work. This view conflicts with the decisions of several federal courts of appeals, including the Fourth, Eleventh and Sixth Circuits, as the EEOC recognizes in its notes.
Until now, the PDA has been interpreted to mean pregnancy is not a disability under the ADA. However, again departing from existing law, the Guidance states that to the extent a worker’s normal, healthy pregnancy limits her ability to perform certain job duties, and to the extent an employer would accommodate an employee with similar limitations, the employer also must accommodate the pregnant worker or risk discriminating against the woman on the basis of her pregnancy.
The EEOC also declares that certain employer inquiries related to pregnancy or potential pregnancy are indicative of discrimination. In the Q&A document, EEOC states, “Although Title VII does not prohibit employers from asking applicants or employees about gender-related characteristics such as pregnancy, such questions are generally discouraged. The EEOC will consider the fact that an employer has asked such a question when evaluating a charge alleging pregnancy discrimination.”
The Guidance provides that employers violate Title VII by providing health insurance that excludes coverage for prescription contraceptives, regardless of whether the contraceptives are provided for birth control or medical purposes. It further explains that, to comply with Title VII, employer-provided health plans must cover prescription contraceptives on the same basis as other prescription drugs, devices, and services used to prevent the occurrence of medical conditions other than pregnancy. If an employer-provided health plan covers preventive care for vaccinations, physical examinations and prescription drugs to prevent high blood pressure or to lower cholesterol levels, then prescription contraceptives also must be covered.
The Guidance notes that Title VII does not require that employer-provided health plans provide coverage for abortions, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or where medical complications have arisen from an abortion.
The EEOC included a caveat in its Q&A document that the Guidance does not address whether certain employers might be exempt from Title VII’s requirements under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or First Amendment of the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate violated the RFRA as applied to closely held family for-profit corporations whose owners had religious objections to providing certain types of contraceptives. It is unclear how a court could distinguish
Hobby Lobby in a challenge to the Guidance’s rules around contraception, especially contraceptive methods that an employer equates to abortion, bearing in mind Title VII’s existing exception for abortion coverage.
In addition, the Guidance does not address its impact on other employers who are currently exempt from existing contraception requirements, such as those who maintain plans that are grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act.
The EEOC stated that the Guidance’s “Best Practices” suggestions, which the agency concedes “go beyond federal non-discrimination requirements,” are suggestions that may “decrease complaints of unlawful discrimination and enhance employee productivity.”
These recommendations include implementing a strong policy against pregnancy discrimination, training managers, responding to complaints promptly and effectively, evaluating restrictive leave policies for any disproportionate impact on pregnant workers, consulting with pregnant workers to develop a plan for covering job duties during anticipated absences, and stating explicitly that reasonable accommodation procedures are available to employees with pregnancy-related impairments. As the dissenters noted, much of the Guidance seems to impose requirements on employers that are not supported by the language of the PDA or the ADAAA; indeed, they may even contradict some court decisions.
The Guidance points out that employers must comply with state or local provisions regarding pregnant workers unless those provisions require or permit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
This is a brief summary of the Guidance. Employers should review their pregnancy, discrimination, leave and disability accommodation-related policies and practices in light of the Guidance and the Q&A document. They should consult with employment counsel to determine whether they may be affected by the Guidance, and if so, how.
The preceding article was reprinted with permission from Jackson Lewis, P.C.
For questions on this or other employment issues, contact Jim Gill at (602) 368-6656 or firstname.lastname@example.org to access the Personnel Assistance Lifeline (PAL) program.
The SSCIP PAK coverage document is an attachment form that enhances SSCIP's standard Building and Personal Property (BPP) or Business Income (BI) forms. In order to meet the expanding needs of Arizona's social service contractors, several coverages were added to the SSCIP PAK form, including:
Additionally, several coverages already offered will now have expanded limits:
As SSCIP's Members continue to rely more heavily on electronic communication and data storage, there is an increased risk of data breach. In the wake of last fall's Target Stores hacking episode, the prospect of SSCIP Members' computer networks being targeted for theft of confidential data or client information is certainly a high-profile exposure. However, the more likely exposures for social service providers are the less high-tech data breaches that can result from lost or stolen laptops and missing thumb drives containing confidential client information. Because of this exposure, SSCIP has enhanced its Building and Personal Property Coverage Form and its Commercial General Liability Coverage Form to include first- and third-party Data Security Breach coverage. These enhanced coverages, offered to Members at no additional premium charge, provide protection against the financial burden a social service provider might face for costs associated with responding to a data breach, and for liability exposures that exist when a client or other third party is harmed by the illicit use of their compromised personal information or data.
Additionally, SSCIP has partnered with IDentityTheft 911 to provide data breach assistance to every Member in the event confidential data has potentially been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, IDentityTheft 911 offers immediate, comprehensive help and expertise in the event of a data security breach. Within the limits of the SSCIP coverage form, assistance would include notifying all parties potentially affected, covering the cost of credit monitoring, and the cost of providing assistance to those individuals whose information was acquired. Additionally, liability coverage would protect the SSCIP Member in the event a claim is filed by a person or entity who felt they were damaged as a result of a breach. In partnering with IDentityTheft 911, SSCIP Members are afforded local, 24-hour assistance and immediate response in the event of a potential data security breach.
For questions on coverage or new limits associated with your policy, please contact one of SSCIP's underwriters:
Kirsten Krause (602) 368-6501 /
Penny Haworth-Rich (602) 368-6644 /