Wigdor LLP filed a proposed Class-Action Complaint against the public company Assurant (NYSE: AIZ). Assurant, a Fortune 500 company, sells specialty insurance products for mobile devices, consumer electronics, appliances and automobiles. The Plaintiffs, Daris Steen, William Judson, Sr. and Richard Stein, who work within Assurant’s auto dealership division allege rampant racial bias and mistreatment. As alleged in the Complaint, Black employees were forced to endure white management openly say things such as “slavery was not all that bad,” because “slave owners provided food and shelter to African slaves,” and African slaves should have been “happy they were no longer in Africa.”
Included among the abhorrent harassment was a Zoom team meeting with over 15 employees where white managers talked about owning semi-automatic weapons and one manager displayed three such guns on his desk before he horrifyingly picked up a semi-automatic and pointed it into the camera. As detailed in the Complaint, these same Black employees on the Zoom regularly heard comments about “white privilege,” the “white majority,” and the need for “whites” to have access to more ammunition. As alleged, when Black employees dared to complain to Assurant about the repugnant work environment, they were retaliated against or fired.
In addition, for years, as alleged, Black employees were grossly underpaid as compared to white peers and prevented from moving beyond Assurant’s lower management levels, allowing only white men to occupy all executive positions in the dealer services division.
Statement from Jeanne M. Christensen, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“Assurant tells investors, employees and the public that “core values” of decency, respect and integrity “guide our every action at Assurant” and it is a “responsible corporate citizen.” There is nothing decent or respectful about assuming Black employees are not as qualified, smart or deserving as their white peers because of their skin color. This is the definition of racism. As alleged, Assurant engaged in this disgusting conduct for years while promoting the white managers responsible for the unlawful acts. We look forward to holding Assurant accountable for its unlawful discrimination as alleged in the Complaint by our clients.”
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