O’Brien Law Firm files nationwide class overtime case for day-rate insurance desk adjusters
On December 27, 2022, the O’Brien Law Firm, in conjunction with co-counsel Gasper Law PLLC, filed a class action case for potentially hundreds of desk insurance adjusters nationwide who work or have worked in the past three years for Catastrophe Response Unit, Inc. (CRU). The initial lawsuit was filed on behalf of three desk adjusters who were paid a day rate for their work on behalf of CRU and the company’s insurance carrier clients. These three adjusters are asking a federal judge allow all similarly-situated desk adjusters who worked for CRU in the past three years in the United States to have an opportunity to join the lawsuit and get properly compensated as well.
Under the overtime law known as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, in most cases if a worker is paid a set amount per work day rather than per work week, that pay scheme does not qualify as a “salary” rate that might exempt the employee from the overtime pay requirements for hours over 40. Therefore, that day-rate worker will be entitled to a time-and-a-half pay rate for those over-40 hours, for unpaid overtime potentially up to 3 years prior to the date on which the worker’s claim is filed in court.
Important in this case is that CRU treated these desk adjusters as “independent contractors.” Properly classified independent contractors are typically not entitled to overtime pay under the law. However, as alleged in the lawsuit, CRU exercised substantial control over the work days of these desk adjusters, such that they should have been properly classified as employees and subject to the labor protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
CRU has denied the allegations. The case is pending as Civil Action No. 4:22-cv-1073, Collins, et al. v. Catastrophe Response Unit, Inc., et al. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.
If you are a desk adjuster for CRU or worked as a desk adjuster for CRU within the last three years and have information about the work environment at CRU as a desk adjuster, please contact the O’Brien Law Firm. Know that the Fair Labor Standards Act provides legal protections from employer retaliation for assisting with or participating in a legal proceeding for unpaid overtime.