The EEOC claims managers at a Farmers Insurance Exchange office in Fresno scapegoated two Asian-American adjusters after an improper coding scandal came to light. It also asserts a white adjuster was fired in retaliation for cooperating with the EEOC’s investigation.
According to the EEOC complaint, a supervisor at the Fresno facility instructed adjusters to code payments in a way that prevented customers from receiving a survey after their claims were settled.
That violated company policy, but two adjusters of Hmong descent—the only Asian-Americans working at the office—were the only ones fired.
When EEOC investigators began looking into the firings, the white adjuster cooperated with the EEOC. The lawsuit alleges he was suspended a week later and then fired. The EEOC charges that the termination was retaliation for speaking with EEOC investigators.
The EEOC attempted to settle the matter through its conciliation process, but those efforts failed. The commission’s lawsuit seeks back pay, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged victims.
Note: When faced with a broad-based disciplinary issue like this, employers must mete out similar punishments for similar offenses. Failing to do so often leads to discrimination charges.
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- Use consistent hiring, firing processes to knock down age discrimination claims
- Use objective measures to make firing decisions
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