Allstate Sued for Gender, Age Discrimination

Allstate is being sued by a former female employee who claims that the insurance and financial services giant discriminated against her on the basis of age and gender and retaliated against her for lodging complaints, ultimately firing her.

Joan McKenzie was hired by AllState, through Kelly Temps, as an incident management specialist trainee in April 2013. At the time fifteen others were hired, also through Kelly Temps. According to the complaint, there were an equal number of male and female hires.

In July 2013 McKenzie agreed to become an employee of Allstate as an incident management level I specialist in their Enterprise Command Center (ECC), which was responsible for “response and incident management.” At the time some of the other temporary hires were also made Allstate employees — two women and six men, the complaint states.

Other positions within the ECC were level II analysts who were responsible for the more major cases and made $5,000 – 8,000 more than level I analysts and incident leads, which was a managerial position charged with oversight of others’ work and training of new hires, and made $5,000-8,000 more than level II analysts.

McKenzie claims that, although she remained a level I analyst, she often performed the work of higher level positions, including oversight and approval of others’ work and training new hires, including creating training materials.

In June 2014 a level II analyst position opened, but McKenzie was not interviewed or otherwise considered for the job and it went to a 32-year-old male with less education than she possessed. McKenzie’s complaint that she was not considered for the position due to her gender and age was referred to human resources.

In September 2014 McKenzie received a negative mid-year performance review, “for the first time in [her] employment at Allstate and affected her overall performance rating and qualifications for future promotions.”

In April 2016 another level II analyst position opened and McKenzie was invited to apply. She was interviewed but did not receive the promotion. The job went to a younger male “despite [McKenzie’s] skill level, experience, and performance being superior.” Again, McKenzie complained to human resources that she had been denied a promotion due to her gender and age.

McKenzie claims that, from early 2014 until her termination, “no female within the ECC was promoted beyond the entry level of Level I analyst. . . . [h]owever, all but one of the male July 2013 hires were promoted,” the complaint states.

McKenzie confronted a male supervisor and asked why no women had been promoted since he was hired. A few months later a complaint was filed against her regarding a statement she had made to a colleague. When she asked the colleague about the incident, he denied reporting it. McKenzie was accused of intimidating a witness and was terminated in June 2017.

McKenzie is represented by Diana Taylor of Libertyville, Illinois who filed the case in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. 

Image Source: Mike Mozart (Flickr)