>Allstate’s action comes as lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked the complaint to be certified as class action. US District Judge John Fullam of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has said previously he was inclined to grant the suit class-action status, but has not finalized a preliminary ruling on that issue, according to an Associated Press report. No indication was given by the judge on when he would rule on any of the motions.
This is just the latest move both sides have taken in a serious of age-discrimination allegations the company has faced. In 2001, the good hands were slapped with a lawsuit by both Allstate’s agents and separately by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (See AARP Lends a Hand in Employee Suit Against AllState ).
The dispute began when Allstate gave the agents until the end of June 2000 to accept an offer to become independent contractors or leave. To continue employment at Allstate as contractors, agents were required to sign a waiver saying that they would not sue Allstate. All but 6,400 complied and the remainder – 90% if whom where older than 40 – were dismissed and given the option of rejoining the group as contractors.
>The EEOC found the waiver was a form of pre-emptive retaliation, amounting to “unlawful interference, coercion and intimidation,” and that Allstate had violated several laws against discrimination. The agency then filed its initial lawsuit in late 2001 (See EEOC Takes on Allstate ).Then last month, the EEOC came out with its determination that Allstate violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) with the reorganization plan (See EEOC Says Allstate Committed Age Discrimination ). The determination came after the EEOC conducted an investigation and found 94% of the terminated employee agents were over age 40 and 84% of the individuals hired to fill newly-created customer service positions were under age 40, according to the Web site www.allstatecase.com .