Unum Sued for Not Paying Analysts Overtime

Unum has been sued by one of its former disability benefit specialists for allegedly requiring its employees to work over 40 hours per week without overtime pay.[1]

The Plaintiff, Ms. Loomis, has claimed that Unum violation of the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA), alleging that Unum should have been paying her, and other similarly situated employees, overtime pay.  The FSLA requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. However, there are some exceptions to this requirement, including for administrative employees.  This, in part, can include employees whose job includes work “of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers” and “[t]he employee’s primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance”.[2]

Ms. Loomis’ argument, based on her and other former employees’ declarations, was that their primary job duty was to process disability insurance claims to comply with predetermined guidelines in a specified time frame and, regardless of their product area or level, “declarants had little authority to independently make decisions on claims and instead acted pursuant to policies, procedures, criterial and guidelines set forth in Defendant’s Claims Manual.”[3] Unum disagreed and argued that its analysts were administrative employees under the Act.

Despite Unum’s arguments, the Court ultimately allowed the suit to proceed and granted Ms. Loomis’ motion for conditional certification that employees (with job titles that included “Disability Benefit(s) Specialist”, “Disability Specialist”, Benefit(s) Specialist, Disability Claims Examiner”, “Disability Benefit(s) Claim Analyst, and “Life Event Specialist”) could be considered potential opt-in plaintiffs and should be notified as such.

[1] Loomis v. Unum, No. 1:20-CV-251, 2021 WL 1928545 (E.D. Tenn. May 13, 2021)

[2] U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Fact Sheet #17C: Exception for Administrative Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

[3] Loomis v. Unum


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