Let’s start with this recent complaint filed in Georgia federal court. Former sales representative Chris Rice claims that Geico compels its call center-based sales workers to start booting up their computers before the start of their shifts—which took several minutes without pay. According to his lawsuit, sales reps were also required to
- Read and respond to emails
- Document their daily work time
- Perform that boot-up process in reverse after clocking out for the day
- Respond to emails or other work tasks during lunch breaks
- Stay late and wait by their computers if technical problems arose during the workday
As for working through lunch breaks or working past the end of the shift, Rice said his supervisor was aware that he was working off-the-clock and “expressly instructed him to do so in accordance with Geico's policies."
Along with compensatory and punitive damages related to his allegedly retaliatory termination, Rice is demanding reinstatement to his former position. The case is Rice v. Government Employees Insurance Company, case number 5:23-cv-00414, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
Adjuster’s Overtime Class Action
A federal judge in April 2022 granted class action status in a former claim adjuster’s lawsuit accusing GEICO of violating federal and state overtime laws. Plaintiff and former adjuster Marc Pugliese filed suit against GEICO on Oct. 6, 2021 in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, claiming that he and other adjusters had been pressured not to report the overtime hours they routinely worked. Pugliese said Geico instructed him and other adjusters to always clock in 7.75 hours each workday, or 38.75 hours each week, but they “regularly and customarily” worked eight to 10 hours a day, and sometimes 50 hours a week. As well, they often had to work through 45-minute meal periods.
Claims Adjustors Unpaid Wages
In June 2023 GEICO agreed settle class action lawsuits to the tune of $805,000 brought by claims adjusters claiming they were entitled to unpaid wages for overtime worked between May 27, 2019 and May 27, 2022. Ninety-one plaintiffs in five different actions filed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida are involved in the deal. According to Insurance Journal, the settlement came about as the result of direct negotiations between the parties’ attorneys after attempts at mediation with judges in August 2022 and again in January 2023 were unsuccessful.
Misclassified Geico Agents
Yet another class action filed February 2023 in Ohio federal court claims that Geico agents are misclassified as independent contractors and are wrongfully denied employee benefits.
Plaintiff James Moyer was hired in 2007 as a “captive insurance agent” and an independent contractor who is not entitled to benefits provided to other Geico employees. (The lawsuit describes captive insurance agents as agents who agree to sell insurance products on behalf of one insurance company, which is not the same as independent insurance agents who are authorized to sell on behalf of multiple insurance companies.) Moyer argues that these agents should be classified as employees because Geico exercises significant control over the roles and duties they perform. For instance, Geico
- Controls the list of potential customers
- Sets performance goals
- Imposes disciplinary measures on Geico agents who are classified as independent contractors
- Offers the opportunity to opt in to Geico’s employee health and life insurance benefits
This case is Moyer v. Government Employees Insurance Company, et al., Case No. 2:23-cv-00578, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
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Geico’s cutbacks “as they struggle to remain profitable amid the challenging landscape” come on the heels of the above proposed settlements that mount to millions of dollars.