Review some sample scenarios to see how professional liability insurance may apply to you.
An employee was ordered by his boss to prepare some reports to headquarters regarding the staffing levels that could be sacrificed due to cost cutting measures. Uncertain as to what to write, the employee asked the boss for guidance. The boss instructed the employee to minimize the numbers of available employees and, essentially, “cook the books.” Believing he had an obligation to follow orders, but not realizing he was obligated not to follow an illegal order, the employee became the co-subject, with his boss, of an investigation into falsification of government documents.
An employee found himself the subject of a multi-million dollar law suit as a result of a joke made to an arrestee. After a yearlong search for a member of the organized crime, the federal employee finally cornered and arrested the criminal at an airport. When the criminal asked how he tracked him down, the agent joked that he had placed a tracking device inside the criminal’s rear-end. The criminal claimed to believe the obvious joke to be real. Sentenced to thirty years in prison and with nothing better to do, the criminal became a jailhouse lawyer and filed a frivolous lawsuit that took five years to resolve.
An employee with fourteen years of good service, but with two minor disciplinary actions (a letter of reprimand and a seven-day suspension), found himself fighting for his career for doing something he and his co-workers did every day, using locker room talk and profanity. Frustrated with a request from his boss to do an unpleasant assignment, he mildly complained about the assignment using off-color language and mild profanity. The agency suddenly, and without notice, took offense to the off-color language and, coupled with the prior insignificant discipline, used the incident as the basis to propose the employee’s removal. The prior discipline served to catapult and transform what would ordinarily deserve a slap on the wrist into imposition of a career death sentence.