Jackson National Life Insurance Company recently reached a $20.5 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after claims the company harassed, discriminated against and retaliated against female and African American employees. This was the largest monetary settlement ever achieved by the Phoenix and Denver offices of the EEOC.
According to the lawsuit, the insurance company maintained a hostile work environment that included frequent targeting of female and African American employees. Some of the claims included referring to black employees as “lazy,” forcing black employees to watch demeaning cartoons, upper level management referring to some of the black female employees as “resident street walkers,” at least one high-level executive kissing a subordinate female employee on the lips, and subjecting various female employees to lewd comments about their appearance.
Most of the illicit conduct alleged in the EEOC complaint came from supervisors, executives and managers.
The lawsuit also alleged some of the terms and conditions of employment for the company were also discriminatory against female and African American employees. For example, female and black employees were paid less than their counterparts, and the company regularly chose less-qualified white and male employees over black and female employees for promotion. The company was also alleged to have retaliated against employees who raised the issue of this discrimination, and fired a white vice president after he refused to submit negative evaluations about and discipline a pair of black female employees who complained about discrimination.
It is illegal under federal law for companies to discriminate against employees based on race or gender identity. For more information about the steps you can take to protect your rights if you find yourself in a situation involving discrimination or retaliation, contact an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.