Bloomington Normal NAACP VP files lawsuit against State Farm; hires Ben Crump as attorney
BLOOMINGTON (25 NEWS) -Bloomington-Normal NAACP Vice President Carla Campbell-Jackson has filed a lawsuit against State Farm and hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent her.
Campbell-Jackson is suing the insurance giant for discrimination and retaliation she claims she faced during her nearly 30 years with the company.
During a press conference in Chicago Thursday, Campbell-Jackson discussed her experience as an employee in the company for 28 years.
The lawsuit details several instances of racism and discrimination towards her and other employees and customers at a State Farm in Portage, Michigan.
“State Farm’s swift and harsh and brutal hands of racism and retaliation landed upon me like a ton of bricks,” Campbell-Jackson said.
In the lawsuit, Campbell-Jackson claims that while working in the special investigation unit handling fraudulent insurance claims in 2014 and 2015, she noticed the company was denying minority customers’ claims.
She said after she reported it to human resources, her performance ratings started to fall, which she claims was a form of retaliation.
In 2016, a group of state farm employees sent a letter to Campbell-Jackson and other employees of color filled with racist language, calling Hispanics “lazy”, African Americans “uneducated” and “crackheads” and Muslims “the bottom of the barrel”.
The lawsuit also says that Campbell-Jackson witnessed State Farm employees saying the “N” word, “X”d out pictures of minority managers on a wall and that State Farm employees attempted to force Campbell-Jackson to kiss a live pig as a form of racist humiliation.
Campbell-Jackson said after she reported the letter, she was fired.
Campbell-Jackson said State Farm vice president of human relations Ricardo Garcia offered her $175,000 to keep quiet about the company’s work culture, but she refused to take it.
According to the lawsuit, after investigating the claims, in February 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that State Farm violated Title VII “by harassing Dr. Campbell-Jackson due to her race, and then illegally terminated her in retaliation for complaining about the harassment and the disparate treatment of African Americans and minority employees of State Farm.”
Also listed in the lawsuit, the EEOC recommended pay Campbell-Jackson nearly $500,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
In addition, the EEOC also recommended State Farm conduct in-person diversity and inclusion training for top level executives, redistribution of the anti-harassment policy to all employees and provide detailed reports of all harassment complaints made by employees to the EEOC.
“We too have cried in silence for too long. We too have suffered. But now that the EEOC along with my attorneys have made a decision to move forward, we too will break the chain of silence,” Campbell-Jackson said during the press conference.
Crump says more than 50 other employees have come forward in a class action lawsuit against State Farm.
“They may say one thing but their actions clearly show that they condone the racism,” Crump said.
A State Farm spokesperson said in a statement Campbell-Jackson was terminated because she shared sensitive and confidential customer and employee information outside the company.
They also say the discrimination allegations “are without merit” and goes against the company’s values, stating “we seek candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences and do not tolerate or condone discrimination of any kind.”
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