Prudential has been named in ten separate lawsuits alleging discrimination based on sex, race, and age in its Minneapolis-area offices during 1995 and 1996.
Seven of the 10 plaintiffs are men, some of whom charge discrimination based on race or age. Several others have filed sex discrimination suits, claiming that they were retaliated against when they complained that Prudential’s office environment was hostile toward women.
Plaintiffs claim that female employees were subjected to unwanted sexual touching and that crude computer screen savers, sexually explicit games and pornographic pictures and photocopies were a regular part of the office environment.
Female sales agents further contend that they were offered help, promotions, and improved assignments or working conditions in exchange for sexual favors, and were punished for refusing these offers.
The plaintiffs filed suit on January 1, 1999, three days after a federal law granted security brokers and insurance agents the right to sue their employers. Prior to 1996 insurance agents were required to resolve all workplace disputes with arbitration.