On December 9, 2015, United States District Court Judge Lucy Koh granted conditional certification of a nationwide class of female employees in a pay discrimination case against Farmers Insurance, the third largest insurance company in the United States. The order can be found here.
The lawsuit was originally brought by Lynne Coates, an attorney employee in Farmers’ San Jose Branch Legal Office. Over the past several months, other female attorney employees have “opted in” to the lawsuit.
When Plaintiff Coates brought her motion seeking conditional certification, her lawyers identified at least one male comparator for each of the female attorney employees who have opted in so far. The male comparators do the same work, and have the same qualifications as the female attorneys, but the men earn more. Farmers has not disputed that evidence.
The sad truth is that when women are undervalued, it adds up in paycheck after paycheck. It impacts their bonuses, their raises, the retirement plans, and their social security contributions. They often don’t even know about the pay disparity.
The federal Equal Pay Act does not require plaintiffs to prove intent. It is the company’s job to ensure that it is not violating the law. As a result of Judge Koh’s ruling, formal notice will go out to 300+ women, inviting them to join the lawsuit. The class members will have 90 days to opt in.
As California State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson explained recently, in California alone, if female workers were paid the same as their male counterparts, the economy would gain more than $33B a year. Women are the primary breadwinners in 2/3 of families with children. Pay discrimination is an economic justice issue and the lawyers at Andrus Anderson LLP are proud to help right this wrong.