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Age discrimination lawsuit shows how controlling employers can be

California has passed numerous laws in the last couple of years to decrease the amount of discrimination in the workplace. While many of these new regulations focus on sexual harassment prevention thanks to the #MeToo movement, there were not a lot that focus on an issue that has plagued multiple industries for a long time, age discrimination.

Over the years, multiple companies have developed various methods of ridding themselves of their older employees in favor of new ones. Some of these methods are present in a recent lawsuit against the California insurance company, Farmers Insurance Group. This is far from the first time the company has been to court over employee discrimination. Even if they cannot learn from their mistakes, the lawsuit could serve as an example to other local employees and employers of the mistreatment older workers receive.

Mislabels and mismanagement

18 former agents of Farmers Insurance Group are filing a lawsuit against the company for forcing them to give up their clients to younger employees. Even though some of them worked as agents for over 30 years, Farmers chose to label them as “Independent Contractors,” which the attorneys claim is a false classification and was done for tax benefits. If a company willfully misclassifies and employee as an independent contractor, then they will owe the IRS the full amount of income tax, both the employer’s and employee’s FICA taxes and any additional interests and penalties.

The attorneys shared statements from their clients that outline the company’s unethical firing process. The company suddenly told people that worked for them for years that the workers were not meeting their goals and that they had to hand their clients over to younger agents. The company also forced them to tell their clients that they had “retired” and prohibited them for contacting them soon afterwards.

False hopes

The company promised these workers multiple benefits that would take their careers further if they continued working for them. After decades of dedication, they were forced to give all of their hard work to someone younger and start looking for jobs in places that they hope won’t turn them down just because of their age.

This story demonstrates how companies can mislead their workers and quickly try to cover up certain firings for their own benefit. They can try and force you to say stuff you do not want to say and may not fire you as a full-time employee just to save some extra money on taxes. This is unacceptable in any state, much less a state that has changed drastically within the last few years to benefit employees like California. Older workers should consider what legal options they have to get the benefits that they rightfully deserve.

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