Last year, a class action lawsuit was filed against Farmers Insurance on behalf of female attorney employees accusing the insurance giant of unlawfully paying its female attorney-employees significantly lower wages than male attorneys doing the same work. Not only are the male employees paid more, but they are routinely given higher profile work assignments, more frequent raises and promotions and are recognized for their accomplishments while female attorneys are not.
Farmers Insurance had similar problems in the 70’s in a lawsuit brought on by the Secretary of labor against Farmers for unequal pay in the mid-1970s in Marshall v. Farmers Ins. Co. The suit found Farmers’ salary policy to be discriminatory by excluding women from promotion, among other things.
End result of last year’s class action is Farmers has to pay $4 million to settle the discrimination suit to over 300 women who worked as claims litigators for the company. They will pay an additional $1.8 million in attorney’s fees and agreed to include reforms in its business practices that include promoting more female attorneys into better compensated positions.
Hopefully Farmers Insurance has learned from these experiences.