Farmers Insurance cultivates a hostile environment in which female attorney employees are openly devalued, where retaliation for voicing gender discrimination complaints is the norm, and where female attorneys who question the company’s gender biases are routinely pushed out, a lawsuit filed today alleges.
According to the plaintiff, Farmers routinely – and unlawfully – pays its female attorney-employees significantly lower wages than those paid to its male attorney-employees performing the same work.
The gender equality issues raised by this lawsuit are all too familiar,” Lori Andrus commented. “We hope that this lawsuit will shed some light on the pay discrimination that Farmers is subjecting its hard-working attorneys to. It is only fair to demand equal pay for equal work.”
Plaintiff Lynne Coates, an exemplary lawyer with more than 22 years of legal experience and with more than five years as a Farmers employee, earned at least 50 percent less than a male attorney performing equal work. The comparison is not an isolated incident: multiple younger male attorneys were hired by Farmers with starting salaries close to what Ms. Coates’ was paid, and eventually exceeding her salary, despite years less experience. After learning of the stark disparity in her pay when compared to her inexperienced male colleagues, Ms. Coates brought the issue to Farmers’ attention, but Farmers retaliated by demoting her, the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit, Coates v. Farmers Group, Inc., et al., Case No. 5:15-cv-01913 (N.D. Cal.), is brought as a putative class action on behalf of women attorneys employed by Farmers nationwide. The suit alleges that Farmers, the third largest insurance company in the United States, engages in systemic gender discrimination against its female attorney-employees through unequal pay in violation of the Equal Pay Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and California’s Labor Code.
Female attorney employees of Farmers Insurance are welcome to contact Andrus Anderson LLP for a free, no-obligation review of their case.
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