SAN FRANCISCO — A female attorney filed a proposed class action against Farmers Insurance on Wednesday, accusing the company of routinely paying women lawyers less than their male counterparts and favoring male attorneys in promotions and assignments.

Lynne Coates, who worked for the San Jose branch of Farmers Insurance, claims that a male colleague with whom she shared “a common core of tasks” received a salary between $150,000 and $200,000, while her maximum salary was under $100,000. After she raised the disparity to her supervisor, Coates alleges she was essentially demoted from her attorney position and asked to handle the duties of a paralegal.

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