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Farmers Insurance Claims Adjusters Reach $4.9 Million Settlement

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San Francisco, CAInsurance adjusters for Farmers Insurance and their employer have reached a $4.9 million settlement in the California labor lawsuit filed against the insurance company. The California wage and hour lawsuit was filed by adjusters who alleged Farmers Insurance violated state and federal labor laws and owed workers for unpaid wages and overtime.

According to reports, approximately 2,000 class members who worked as claims representatives in California from September 2011 to August 2016 will split the settlement. The lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2014, alleged company policies on the part of Farmers Insurance resulted in claims adjusters missing required breaks.

"…Plaintiffs sought certification of their claims for unpaid overtime and missed meal and rest breaks, unfair competition under the UCL, and statutory and civil penalties based on their belief that Farmers has class wide policies and practices that led to off-the-clock work and missed breaks," court documents note.

Among the allegations are that Farmers Insurance practices—including competitive rankings among employees and work volume demands—resulted in claims adjustors working overtime and skipping breaks. Furthermore, plaintiffs alleged that prior to 2015 Farmers did not have a meal or rest break policy that ensured workers either did not miss a meal or rest break, or if they did miss the break, could report it properly.

Farmers Insurance denied any wrongdoing in the case and stated its policies and procedures complied with federal and state law. The company agreed, however, to settle the lawsuit. US District Judge William Orrick gave his approval to the settlement, noting that the settlement was fair.

The lawsuit is Alvarez et al v. Farmers Insurance Exchange et al., case number 3:14-cv-00574, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo faces a lawsuit of its own, filed by employees who allege they were fired for refusing to open unauthorized accounts. According to CNN Money (9/26/16), the lawsuit was filed by two employees who claim Wells Fargo employees who did not meet the company's unrealistic sales goals or who refused to open accounts without proper authorization had their employment terminated. Wells Fargo faces heavy criticism for allegedly opening millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts, and charging customers fees for those accounts. The plaintiffs argue that employees who were willing to open the fake accounts were promoted for their unethical behavior.

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