Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, recognized as one of the country’s best employers for eight consecutive years, is facing a class action of more than $80 million for shortchanging its commission-based employees on overtime as well as public holiday and vacation pay.
Toronto-based Monkhouse Law has issued a Lawsuit to certify the class action in the Superior Court of Justice, alleging that Allstate violated the Employment Standards Act (ESA) by failing to accurately pay the commission salespeople. The allegations must still be proven in court.
The suit alleges that Allstate had a systemic policy of never paying overtime to its salespeople and that the company failed to provide minimum employment standards relating to employees. Under the ESA, employees must be paid additional public holiday pay above and beyond their regular pay.
“Allstate prides itself on being one of the best employers but, in fact, appears to us to incorrectly calculate benefits for their workers or pay overtime” says Monkhouse Law founder Andrew Monkhouse. “The company’s practice of not paying commission employees proper overtime and vacation entitlements is denying them their statutory rights. We want to certify this class action to ensure that employees get paid for what they’re owed.”
The suit is being filed on behalf of a man, who worked as a business development agent at Allstate in 2019, but it includes all commissioned employees of Allstate in Canada who were paid vacation and public holiday pay on their base draw only and not total wages.
According to the claim, Allstate has a systemic policy of recruiting employees by telling them about the possibility of high bonus incomes, while knowing they can only be achieved by working over 44 hours a week. It states that the company ought to have known the employees were working overtime due to the large number of files they handled and the fact they often had to call or with clients after hours.
The claim states that commissioned salespeople at Allstate received a base salary of $45,000 and were paid a 15-per-cent commission on the value of insurance policies sold. The proposed representative Plaintiff and other commissioned salespeople at Allstate often worked in excess of 44 hours per week in order to earn the individual performance bonus component of their pay, and had to meet very high sales targets that could only be achieved by spending additional time following up with clients after hours.
Allstate avoided its overtime obligations, the claim states, as it had no written policies or directives, no printed information for employees, and no standardized systems or centralized record-keeping.
While commissioned salespeople were paid a commission and there was a bonus for agents who exceeded their sales targets, the claim states that policies applicable to the proposed representative plaintiff and other commissioned salespeople did not prescribe for vacation and statutory holiday pay calculated on total wages.
The claim states that Allstate’s plan also does not provide for public holiday or vacation pay as a fixed percentage of an employee’s wage and therefore the employees are owed compensation above what they were paid.
Under the ESA, an employer must pay a worker overtime pay of at least one and one-half times his or her regular rate for each hour of work in excess of 44 hours in each work week. Variable compensation employees also must be paid additional public holiday pay above and beyond their regular pay.
The class action is the seventh filed by Monkhouse Law against a Canadian company for shortchanging employees on vacation and public holiday pay. Class actions were previously filed against the Approval Team, Bank of Montreal, RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. and Aviva Insurance Co., RBC Life Insurance Co., Medcan Health Management Inc. and Procom. Those actions are ongoing.
Toronto-based Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm that specializes in: wrongful dismissal, human rights law, labour law, employment insurance claims, and denied long-term disability claims. Monkhouse Law has a strong history of representing employees in class actions, including having started the first Canadian contractor misclassification case of Sondhi v. Deloitte in 2015 and having successfully certified an employee misclassification class action for solar panel sales representatives in 2019.
The allstate class action certified on January 13, 2023 by order of Justice Belobaba. The decision can be read at: Lee v. Allstate Insurance, 2023 ONSC 8 (CanLII), <https://canlii.ca/t/jtx4v>
Class members will be notified in accordance with the notice plan, once determined by the parties, after appeals (if any). Usually this happens a few months of the final determination of certification, therefore the timeline is not known at this time. For updates please sign up below.
The certification hearing was heard by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on August 30, 2022. The decision is under reserve.
If you would like to be kept updated with this class action against Allstate, or are a former/current commissioned insurance advisor with Allstate, please fill out this form or contact Alexandra Monkhouse at email@example.com
Toronto-based Monkhouse Law has a strong history of representing employees in class actions including having started the first Canadian contractor misclassification case in 2015, Sondhi v Deloitte and the recent vacation and holiday pay class action for commissioned employees against RBC Insurance, where the allegations are similar to those in the Allstate claim.