Conciliation efforts between Allstate Insurance Co. and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) broke down in January. As a result, it's likely that either the EEOC, or agents who have filed complaints with the EEOC, eventually will sue the Northbrook, Ill.-based carrier.The talks were the result of the determination issued by the EEOC last fall finding that Allstate had unlawfully retaliated against its employee agents under equal employment laws the agency oversees by requiring its agents to sign a release and waiver in order to be retained as independent contractors or to receive certain benefits.
Allstate announced in November 1999 that it would reorganize its agency force-which then numbered 15,000-under a single independent contractor program. As part of that move, it terminated the employment of its 6,500 employee agents, and offered them the choice to sign the release and waiver to convert to independent contractor status or to receive enhanced severance benefits.
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