Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump has filed a discrimination lawsuit against State Farm on behalf of a former employee.
The lawyer, who represents the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery among many others, is currently working on behalf of Carla Campbell-Jackson, a former State Farm claims section manager who says the insurance company retaliated against her for reporting “racist and discriminatory behavior.”
In February, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a determination of reasonable cause over Campbell-Jackson’s claims. Subsequently, it proposed a $474,000 conciliation agreement that State Farm reportedly turned down.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the commission found Campbell-Jackson was "harassed due to her race, and discharged in retaliation for complaining about harassment." She says from 2014 to 2015 she was tasked with handling fraudulent insurance claims and noticed the company often denied the claims of minority customers. Then when Campbell-Jackson raised her concerns, she says her performance ratings took a hit.
Campbell-Jackson also claims that a group of employees sent a racist letter calling African Americans “uneducated,” Latinos “lazy” and Muslims the “bottom of the barrel,” WHOI reports.
In May 2016, Campbell-Jackson filed the allegation in May 2016, at which time she worked for the company in Michigan.
Now, Campbell-Jackson serves as the vice president of the Bloomington-Normal chapter of the NAACP. During a Thursday (December 16) press conference she announced the suit alongside NAACP Chapter President Linda Foster and State President Teresa Haley.
“Based on my experiences, State Farm is not a good neighbor to people who look like you and me,” Campbell-Jackson said, referencing the company’s TV advertisements and slogan, according to WGLT.
State Farm has since responded with a statement.
"Ms. Carla Campbell-Jackson was terminated from State Farm because she shared sensitive, confidential personal customer and employee information outside of our organization; a clear policy and code of conduct violation by a management level employee,” the statement claims, in-part. “After becoming aware of the situation, State Farm took quick action to follow breach protocols and to secure the sensitive information."
The company also added it "embraces diversity and inclusion because it is simply the right thing to do. We seek candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences and do not tolerate or condone discrimination of any kind. Racism has no place anywhere in our society and we work tirelessly to provide an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued. We strive to be a force for good in the communities we serve."
The EEOC found that there was “reasonable cause” for Campbell-Jackson’s filing with the government and could have filed its own lawsuit, though the agency does not always do so.