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Former insurance agents from across California sue Farmers Insurance for age discrimination

Staff Writer |
18 former Farmers Insurance agents representing multiple regions of California filed suit against Farmers Insurance Group, et al for Age Discrimination.

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The complaint outlines a systematic and calculated focus to discriminate against all Plaintiffs based upon their age and to falsely classify Farmers Insurance Agents as Independent Contractors among other claims. We anticipate that this case will have national legal ramifications far beyond Farmers Insurance, Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer say.

"I joined Farmers Insurance because I was told I could build my client base, benefit from residual renewals and continue until I choose to retire. That was all a sham. Because of my age alone, I was forced to give up my extensive book of business and was shut out after 35+ years as a top regional Farmers agent," said Chuck Nielsen, Former Farmers Agent, San Jose, CA.

"I relied upon my contract with Farmers Insurance and renewed my office lease thinking that my new and residual business was solid.

"Out of nowhere I am notified that I am no longer meeting goals imposed on me by Farmers and that my 30+ year established book of clients is going to be moved to a younger agent and that my clients will be told that I retired.

"I have spent over 30+ years building my book of business as a top-notch Farmers Insurance agent.

"But for my age, this would never be happening to me. I am prohibited from contacting my clients for a full year!" said Thomas Mortensen, Former Farmers Agent, Concord, CA.

"I was shocked! How could this be happening?" said Plaintiff James Melin, a 12-year Farmers Insurance agent targeted due to his age. "I asked my peers.

"I could see that all the 'seasoned' agents were being sent termination notices and across the board being told that our book of clients were going to be given to younger agents."

"Our clients were sold a bill of goods by Farmers," said J. Gary Gwilliam, Esq, attorney for the Plaintiffs and founding Partner of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer.

"Farmers told our clients that they would own their own agencies; that they could work as long as they liked and that they could create 'generational' wealth. But it was all a lie. Instead, they wrongfully terminated them without any good cause."

Farmers unilaterally labeled Plaintiffs as "Independent Contractors" despite controlling nearly every aspect of their employment.

"Farmers only called our clients 'Independent Contractors' for tax and legal reasons. In fact, Farmers micromanaged our clients then terminated them for failing to meet unspecified 'business results'. In a cruel and calculated way, Farmers then reassigned the Plaintiff's books of customers to younger Farmers agents. This is clearly Age Discrimination," said Robert J. Schwartz, Esq. of Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer, who represent the Plaintiffs.


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