Farmers Insurance is being sued by a former female attorney employee for sex discrimination. The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in a California federal court on April 29, claims the company pays its male attorneys significantly more than its female attorneys for doing equal work.
According to the suit, Farmers routinely pays its male attorneys a higher salary than female attorneys, gives them raises and promotions more frequently and offers them the best work assignments. Meanwhile, female attorneys are allegedly treated like support staff.
The lawsuit’s plaintiff, who worked in the legal office of Farmers’ San Jose branch for periods of the 1990s and the 2010s, alleges she was paid less than male attorneys who had much less experience than she did. She also claims one male attorney with a similar job description and equal experience was paid up to twice as much as she was. Further, she says she was demoted from an attorney to a paralegal when she asked a supervisor about the salary difference. To bolster her allegations, the lawsuit cites a similar unequal pay claim that was filed against Farmers in the 1970s.
The plaintiff filed formal complaints against Farmers with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2014. Both agencies granted her the right to sue.
Any employee who believes they have been subjected to workplace discrimination may benefit by consulting with an attorney. After reviewing the details of the claim, an attorney could recommend the best course of legal action. In some cases, a client may be advised to file a discrimination lawsuit against the responsible party. If the claim is successful, the plaintiff could receive compensation for lost wages and other damages.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Farmers Sued by Female Employee Attorney for Alleged Discrimination,” Don Jergler, April 29, 2015