Former Agents Sue Allstate Insurance Co.

December 21, 2000

Five former Allstate Insurance Co. agents who worked in Florida, Georgia and Oregon, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the insurer, seeking payment for three years of overtime wages.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the lawsuit contains allegations that under a policy implemented by the company in 1999, the agents were required keep regional offices open for business nine hours per day Monday through Friday and four hours on Saturday, thus exceeding a 40-hour work week. The plaintiffs attorney added, however, that many agents were putting in the overtime prior to implementation of that plan.

A specific value for the claim was not indicated, but an attorney for the plaintiffs stated that if more former employees join the suit, the overtime claims could total millions of dollars. To date, 44 agents from 17 states have joined the lawsuit. Allstate spokesman Mike Trevino stated that as salaried employees, the former agents had not been entitled to overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Trevino added that agents also had the option of allowing other employees to staff the offices.

Last July, 6,500 Allstate agents were fired but allowed to return as independent contractors as part of the company’s restructuring plan. The period for which the plaintiffs are seeking back overtime pay commences three years ago, the statute of limitations, through last July, when restructuring took place. Backpay is not sought for independent contractors. Allstate is a unit of Allstate Corp., based in Northbrook, Ill.

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