Sanford Heisler Sharp Wins Conditional Certification in $50 Million Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Against MetLife for Overtime Pay Violations

Posted March 23rd, 2018.

March 23, 2018, New York – Attorneys at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP today announced that U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan granted conditional certification of a nationwide class for unpaid overtime brought against MetLife. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York on behalf of hundreds of workers and seeks in excess of $50,000,000 for lost wages and liquidated damages.

The ruling came down last night in the form of a succinct Order and concurrently filed Memorandum Opinion under temporary seal. The parties have been given ten (10) days to propose and justify any redactions to the Memorandum Opinion, after which it will be available on the public docket.

The lawsuit alleges that Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (“MetLife”) knowingly failed to pay claim specialists who worked on long term disability insurance claims (“LTD Claim Specialists”) earned overtime for over four years. The nationwide action is brought by Plaintiffs Debra Julian, a former LTD Claim Specialist in New York, and Stephanie McKinney, a former LTD Claim Specialist in Connecticut. The Plaintiffs are represented in the matter by Sanford Heisler Sharp and Krakower DiChiara LLC.

MetLife formerly paid its LTD Claim Specialists hourly wages and overtime pay, but stopped doing so in November 2013, after “reclassifying” them without any change in their job duties. The Complaint asserts MetLife made the classification change as a “cost-cutting measure.”

“Judge Nathan’s conditional certification is a welcome first step in addressing MetLife’s flagrant compensation practices,” said Michael Palmer, Co-Chair of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Wage & Hour Practice. “Despite consistently having to work more than 40 hours per week, LTD Claim Specialists are denied overtime pay. With this ruling, the class action can now proceed on behalf of hundreds of workers.”

The Plaintiffs allege that MetLife’s LTD Claim Specialists’ job principally involves gathering information about disability claimants, entering the information into MetLife’s computer systems, and consulting with supervisors and specialized staff. According to the Complaint, LTD Claim Specialists at the company regularly work between 45 and 60 hours weekly, without the appropriate compensation for their overtime hours.

“MetLife has underpaid and overworked their employees through a ‘reclassification’ scheme,” said David Sanford, chair of Sanford Heisler Sharp. “There are significant public interest issues at stake in this class action. All too often, companies use ‘reclassifications’ to wrongfully deny their employees overtime compensation.”

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages, including unpaid wages, on behalf of the Plaintiffs and the class of LTD Claim Specialists. It also seeks an injunction against MetLife requiring the Company to change its wage practices going forward.

About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Nashville, San Francisco, San Diego and Baltimore. Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating and trying cases that have earned over one billion dollars for our clients.

The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with claims of employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, consumer fraud, and whistleblowing, among other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, the Firm also represents individuals and has achieved extraordinary success in the representation of executives and attorneys in employment disputes.

For more information go to www.sanfordheisler.com or call (646) 402-5650 or email mpalmer@sanfordheisler.com. For the latest news, visit our newsroom or follow us on Twitter at @sanfordheisler.

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