A putative class action filed today in U.S. District Court forConnecticut charges insurance powerhouse MetLife Inc. with withholding more than $50million in overtime pay to claims specialists since late 2013.

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The suit, filed on behalf of a former MetLife long termdisability claim specialist, said the company reclassified all suchworkers as "exempt" from overtime pay regulations required underfederal and Connecticut law. According to the complaint, plaintiffStephanie McKinney routinely worked between 10 and 20 hours ofovertime weekly until she left the company last July, often fromhome at night and on weekends.

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Until late 2013, both long term disability and short termdisability specialists were classified as non-exempt and paidovertime compensation, the suit states. "Accordingly, MetLife wasfully aware that LTD claim specialists commonly worked over 40hours per week."

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McKinney v. MetLife, 17-173, was filed by Milford solo DanielSchneider and a team of lawyers with New York's Sanford Heislerincluding Jeremy Heisler, Andrew Melzer, Michael Palmer and DavidTracey.

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In a statement, Heisler termed MetLife's actions"impermissible."

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"Employers can't shirk their overtime obligations by simply'reclassifying' hourly employees," said Heisler.

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MetLife's vice president for finance and investment, JohnCalagna, said via email that the insurer has not had time to reviewthe complaint and would have no comment.

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The complaint said MetLife reported $5.2 billion in net incomein 2015.

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Related: Can brokers and employers keep up with2017 changes?

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