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Jackson Life Insurance Agrees to $20.5 Million Settlement

In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought a lawsuit against Jackson National Life Insurance on behalf of black and female employees. Thirteen black employees, seven white women, and a white male vice-president joined the lawsuit. In the complaint, the EEOC alleged that black employees were paid less than their white co-workers. These employees also alleged that they were subjected to sexual harassment and racially demeaning cartoons; they were referred to as “lazy,” as “resident street walkers,” and other slurs. It was alleged that employees made clicking noises around one co-worker of Ethiopian descent. A manager purportedly commented about employees’ breasts while another manager told a black woman to get on her knees at a company party while holding a bottle of vodka horizontally. The EEOC also alleged that Jackson National Life retaliated against those employees who complained, and it fired a white vice president when he refused to give a negative evaluation to two black employees who had complained.
As part of the settlement, the company has entered into a four-year consent decree and must pay $20.5 million in attorneys’ fees, damages, and costs. Approximately $15 million will go to the individual employees with $5 million set aside for attorneys’ fees and costs. The company must also designate an internal monitor to prevent further acts of discrimination and hire an outside consultant to review its policies, promotions, and compensation practices. Training must also be provided.
Jackson National Life Insurance stated that it agreed to settle the lawsuit in an effort to “move forward,” and that it was “humbled and recognized that the associate who made claims in this case believe they were not treated fairly or in a way that aligns with Jackson’s core values.”