Your Bottom, Their Bottom Line

Bias complaints are up, and that means insurers are paying out more for companies to defend against those claims. Could weary insurers be the working woman’s new best friend?

Gender discrimination accounts for  29.1% of all EEOC charges filed in fiscal 2010. Apparently  women aren’t so grateful for a job that they’re willing to suck it up and take a pinch for the team.

The list of the offended and offenders list goes on and on. It doesn’t matter if you have a public relations department capable of keeping your company on “best places to work” lists, racking up awards for pronouncements made by top executives, regardless of the reality experienced by worker bees.

Who can stop this miserable cycle?

Maybe those corporate killjoys, insurers. Let’s see: If you were in the business of covering legal liability, and you kept getting to pay for the boneheaded, potentially illegal, decisions of middle managers and employees who obviously didn’t take the CEO’s diversity directives very seriously…well, you might decide that you needed a bit of proof to back up an organization’s claim that they don’t discriminate never, ever. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has found that discrimination suits actually clean up workplaces. Bet the insurers don’t appreciate getting stuck with the janitor’s bill.

If I were in the business of telling business insurers how to do their business, here’s what I’d ask them to screen for:

  • Are managers’ personal incentives in line with the CEO’s diversity directives? Or are the CEO’s directives actually contradicted by earnings, growth and profitability goals and resulting bonuses? If there is a conflict, what do you think wins?
  • How does the organization measure the actual effectiveness of its recruiting and advancement programs for women and minorities? Does the organization talk about what it does, or the results that it gets? If hard numbers are hard to detect in fancy reports, you might have to figure out what the  organization is trying to hide.
  • Does the organization know where its glass cliffs are? At what point do women leave? And what does the organization do to get them to stay and continue to advance?

Insurers do due diligence all the time. Insurance is earned by reasonable and consistent risk management.  Any organization that isn’t applying these principles to its diversity programs deserves to pay more, much more, in liability insurance. And that will really pinch their bottom line.

Image courtesy of Morguefile contributor pedrojperez.

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