Recent budget cuts in the US have meant that PBS may no longer be able to fund Sesame Street. Ever since 1969, Sesame Street has provided over 4,000 episodes of educational content across the world. As a result of the budget cuts, Elmo has been fired. This came as a shock to everyone since Elmo has been faithfully playing his role for 32 years. He even became a worldwide sensation in 1996 when the tickle-me-Elmo doll started flying off the shelves. There were stories of people driving thousands of kilometres and paying $1,500+. Since Elmo was a star performer, it is possible that a lawyer may convince him to file a wrongful termination suit, which could be covered by employment practices liability insurance.
We wanted to see whether a typical insurance policy might cover potential lawsuits by Elmo. Of course we don’t have access to any real information on this, so we are completely making things up.
Some possible situations that could be covered by the Sesame Street insurance policy
- Failure to promote. It is true that Elmo was working the same job for 27 years and was not promoted. He totally crushed his duties, but still got no love. He could claim that his employers treated him unfairly throughout his tenure.
- Invasion of privacy. In his “exit meeting”, he was asked to remove all his clothing and was forced to march out. There is video proof of this (https://goo.gl/IqtrT2). Not only was this humiliating, it was unnecessary.
- Retaliation: It is no doubt that Elmo is a cute and cuddly character that strikes envy the hearts of many. If he was fired for being “too cute”, this could be retaliation for stealing the public’s attention.
- Wrongful discipline. Elmo maintains that he had nothing to do with Kevin Clash’s abuse scandal (https://goo.gl/VifQK1). Kevin is the man who voices the Elmo character, but has otherwise no connection to Elmo. If he was targeted because of someone else’s actions, this would be a case of wrongful discipline.
To get some more colour on the situation, we interviewed some of Elmo’s friends to comment.
- Kermit the Frog. “I guess Elmo was the one that was not like the others”
- Snuffleupagus. “At least Elmo was noticed. For many years, people didn’t even believe I existed”
- Bert and Ernie. “Well at least he wasn’t discriminated against”
- Bid Bird. “Serves him right for always speaking in the third person. Who does he think he is?”
We plan to keep an eye on the situation to see how things unfold. If any of these potential claims ring too close to home, reach out to us and we can help you brush up on your employment practices insurance.
Zensurance is Canada’s leading online commercial insurance broker. We offer a full range of insurance products to small businesses, with a particular focus on digitizing businesses and technology startups. We understand what it is to work with new technology, and know the most common risks of which you should be aware. Based on that (and a lot of analytics), we recommend the ideal insurance coverage for your business.