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Judge Says Jury Must Hear Age Bias Case Against Allstate

On October 19 Judge E. Richard Webber of Federal District Court in St. Louis ruled that the evidence lawyers for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission...
October 24, 2006

On October 19 Judge E. Richard Webber of Federal District Court in St. Louis ruled that the evidence lawyers for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had presented about possible violations of anti-discrimination laws by Allstate in a reorganization plan was strong enough to be heard by a jury.  For years, Allstate has argued that the case should be dismissed, but the judge decided that the company had not presented sufficient evidence to rebut the allegations of discrimination. The judge said that the government would have to prove that Allstate discriminated against older insurance agents when it reorganized its operations in 1999. Michael Trevino, a spokesman for Allstate, expressed disappointment in the judge's decision and said the company does not believe that its agent reorganization plan discriminated against anyone on the basis of age or any other factor.

Allstate agents filed age-discrimination complaints with the EEOC shortly after the company decided to dismiss nearly 6,500 career agents, who were offered jobs as independent contractors.  In their complaint, the agents say that 94 percent of these agents were at least 40 years old.

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