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EMPLOYEE BENEFITS NEWSLETTER: July 2018

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The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement is fairly new but sexual harassment is not. Women, usually the victims of sexual harassment at work, are just no longer taking the abuse. They are finding their voice, speaking up and demanding change causing human resource departments across the nation to scramble to reform their ways and find new solutions.

The movement has resulted in more workplace complaints, companies fine-tuning their policies and procedures and even developing new prevention education.

Enter Work Shield and its ERISA-qualified Employer Harassment Prevention Plan (“EHP Plan”), a new and innovative workplace harassment solution that works for everyone and is offered by The Plexus Groupe. This plan can be purchased and added at any time. The Work Shield solution provides an independent platform for employees to address -- and employers to prevent -- harassment issues in the workplace.

As set forth by the EEOC, more than 33 million women have experienced sexual abuse and about half of those incidents took place at work. However, that number may be low because according to the EEOC, 75 percent of workplace harassment incidents go unreported.

Most victims of workplace harassment don't report the incident because of fear - fear of not being believed, fear of retaliation, fear of losing their job, fear of being ridiculed, and fear of having the incident “swept under the rug”, among other factors. Employees rarely feel safe and protected with their employer's current sexual harassment policies and procedures.

Work Shield serves a third party that provides a safe and secure conduit between all parties involved in a workplace harassment incident. An employee who is feeling harassed can use the Work Shield platform to report the incident on a HIPAA-secured portal – both anonymously and not.

Once an incident report is filed, Works Shield and its team of experts begin an investigation that is based on listening and understanding, while finding the facts surrounding the incident.

Within 45 days, Work Shield will provide an incident report of the findings and make a qualified recommendation to the employer regarding the incident – all with compliancy, confidentiality (as it relates to keeping the matter between only those applicable parties) and sensitivity as the key components to the determination and recommendation.

The existing system of handling workplace harassment issues is broken. The only resource for employees is to file EEOC charges and even lawsuits. Oftentimes, these employees win – BIG – due to an employer not appropriately handling, investigating and procuring the right solution. Since 2010, companies have paid out nearly $700 million in settlements to victims of workplace sexual harassment.

Workplace harassment not only impacts companies through legal costs, but impacts job turnover, sick and low productivity. It is estimated that companies spend an additional $327 million –on these three issues due to workplace harassment. In total, that’s over $1 billion dollars spent on workplace harassment in the past seven years.

But for the price of a cup of coffee per employee per month, the Work Shield platform is the key to preventing and resolving workplace harassment before it gets to a hefty and costly lawsuit.

Have questions regarding Work Shield, this newsletter or other employee benefits matters? Contact a client service team representative from The Plexus Groupe in Deer Park, Ill. (847.307.6100), Chicago (312.606.4800), Dallas (972.770.5010), or Oklahoma City (405.840.3033).

We’re here to help — and we’re happy to help.

When Black Friday comes, be wary of parking drama

In our latest Plexus Personal Insurance Newsletter, we take a closer look at some timely home & auto issues to ponder as the holiday season starts and 2018 approaches.

Thinking about home renovations? It pays to talk to your insurance agent.

If planning renovations to your home, loop in your insurance agent, who can then contact your carrier if necessary. While this could lead to a rate hike, it could save the day if disaster strikes. For instance, if you suffer a construction-related loss to your home without telling your insurer, you could be facing a deductible of 10 percent of your home's replacement cost. Want to learn more? Contact Plexus Private Client Solutions Client Executive David Miller at 847-307-6141 or dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

Shopping on Black Friday? Look out for door-busters -- and fender-benders.

The Friday after Thanksgiving brings big sales and big crowds to shopping centers. It can also bring people closer together . . . to exchange insurance information. According to Farmers Insurance, parking lot accidents increase in number by 25 percent on Black Friday, per NerdWallet.com. Talk about an unwanted complication at the end of the year.

The (scary) facts on distracted driving

Auto rates have been on the rise, and distracted drivers getting into accidents have played a role. Travelers Insurance has put together a short interactive quiz on distracted driving, including this question: "At any moment in the day, how many people in the U.S. are using phones or electronic devices while driving?" Hint: the answer is more than a handful, to say the least. Take the quiz and see how you do.

For more on Plexus’s personal insurance services, contact a  dedicated Plexus Private Client Solutions team member at 847.307.6100, or contact us via the Web.