Famed Attorney Ben Crump announced on Wednesday he is filing a lawsuit against State Farm on behalf of a second employee accusing the insurance company of allegedly discriminating against her, retaliation and forcing her to get permission just to go to the bathroom—all because of her race.
Crump, a nationally renowned personal injury and civil rights attorney, and lawyers from the Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge law firm made the announcement during a press conference held at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters. Attorney Crump accused State Farm of having a “pattern and practice” of allegedly engaging in racism against Blacks and people of color.
Joining Attorney Crump and his attorneys were Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Shashi Mandhyan, a 19-year employee, who is Asian American of Indian descent and who revealed she was discriminated against by the company, including receiving negative performance evaluations and ultimately fired “based on her race.”
After she was fired, Mandhyan filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and after a year-long investigation that concluded last October, the investigation determined there was substantial evidence of State Farm harassing and retaliating against her “based on race, including issuing a negative performance evaluation based on race,” then firing her based on the same reason. The Commission’s findings gave Mandhyan the right to file a civil lawsuit.
Reverend Jackson announced that the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is going to launch a nationwide audit on 100 corporations in America, in terms of their procurement and diversity records.
Besides being insulted at how and why Blacks and other people of color are being fired by State Farm, Reverend Jackson also wants to know who are the Black ad agencies, the Black lawyers, who gets the accounting business and how diverse are their procurements.
“Does State Farm do business with us?” asked Reverend Jackson. Also present was Dr. Carla Campbell-Jackson, an African American, 28-year veteran employee. Last December, Dr. Campbell-Jackson, along with Attorney Crump, announced she was suing State Farm for similar reasons after a federal EEOC investigated her claims of racism. Like Mandhyan, Dr. Campbell-Jackson was also fired after she spoke out about the racism and discrimination. Reverend Attorney Janette Wilson, national senior advisor to Reverend Jackson was also present, along with Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Reverend Cameron Barnes, national youth director, and other lawyers from Attorney Crump’s and the Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge law firms. “The more investigating we do into State Farm’s biased company culture on behalf of their victims, the more we realize that the company’s discrimination spans minorities of many different races, sexual orientations and nationalities,” said Attorney Crump.
Praising Mandhyan for standing up to State Farm and speaking out about being discriminated against, Attorney Crump vowed to “continue to be the David to State Farm’s Goliath and fight to earn their employees’ equitable compensation for the discrimination they have faced.”
State Farm hired Mandhyan in 2001 and she was given regular excellent performance reviews until she began to raise concerns about the racist culture she was experiencing, according to the complaint.
Mandhyan was directed to ask for permission just to get up from her desk, including to use the bathroom, which her white counterparts did not have to obey.
Her peers pretended to be allergic to her, and her co-workers often praised former President Donald Trump and his need to “keep the Mexicans out” because they were “criminals.”
Mandhyan was especially offended when her colleagues called her “sushi.” “My name is Shashi,” she repeatedly said. She was equally offended when the employees said Indian people were “dirty” and ”strange” because of the red dots women wore on their foreheads.
State Farm employees also mocked the way Mandhyan spoke, speaking to her in an accent to portray her culture. Her co-workers also used racial slurs toward African Americans and Hispanics.
Unbelievably, Mandhyan was fired by State Farm for alleged misconduct in violation of the insurance company’s code of conduct, its anti-harassment policy and dishonesty. However, Attorney Crump said two independent witnesses confirmed Mandhyan’s allegations against State Farm during the investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Dr. Campbell-Jackson also spoke saying, “State Farm is not a good neighbor to African- American employees nor to African-American customers. This is indisputable and is totally unacceptable.”
She said since she came forward last December when Crump announced she was suing State Farm, “many former and current employees have come forth to share their horrific experiences while working at State Farm. We all have a moral obligation, a mandate and a mission to do our part,” Dr. Campbell-Jackson said.
Last December, Attorney Crump sued State Farm for allegedly engaging in “systematic racism, discrimination and retaliation” against Dr. Campbell-Jackson. At that time, Attorney Crump said, “There exist in abundance of evidence of a culture of racism and disenfranchisement against African Americans and minority employees, including Hispanics and Muslims.
“Their overt racism ranges from nooses in the workplace to racist outrageous letters and racist wall graffiti calling African-American women derogatory terms out of their names and telling a Black employee to kiss a real, live pig while in the workplace to demeaning African Americans based on the way they talk.”
Attorney Crump reiterated what he said last December when he announced his lawsuit against State Farm on behalf of Dr. Campbell-Jackson: “State Farm, your racism harms.”