Axa Financial Hit With Class-Action Suit by Sales Reps Seeking Overtime Wages

BROOKLYN, N.Y. May 20 (BestWire) — Financial consultants and sales

representatives have filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Axa

Financial Services and affiliates in federal court, seeking to recover

unpaid and overtime wages they allege are owed to them under federal and

New York labor laws.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District

of New York, names as defendants Axa Advisors LLC, Axa Financial Services

LLC and Axa Network LLC and any other entities affiliated with or

controlled by them.

Axa Advisors LLC, Axa Financial Services LLC and Axa Network LLC

Axa Financial Hit With Class-Action Suit by Sales Reps Seeking Overtime Wages

The plaintiffs, Bennet Marcus and Steve Kennedy, allege violations of the

federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor law. They seek to

represent a class that is currently or formerly employed by Axa selling

securities or training to sell securities.

Axa had wrongfully withheld their wages, starting around May 2005 and

continuing to the present, the complaint alleges.

According to the complaint, Axa wrongfully classified the plaintiffs as

exempt from overtime wages and failed to provide minimum wage and overtime

compensation to its employees for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours

in any given week.

Jeff Brown, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said he’s confident “the

scope of individuals that will be ultimately defined within the parameters

of this class action will be determined to be employees, and not

independent contractors.”

Jo Ann Tizzano, a spokeswoman for Axa Equitable Life Insurance Co., said

in an email that the company “is committed to fulfilling all of its

wage-and-hour obligations. We believe that there is no merit to this

complaint.”

The plaintiffs expect to ask a jury for “tens of millions of dollars” in

compensation due to the size of the class and the amount of overtime

worked by these employees, said Brown, who is with the law firm of Leeds

Morelli & Brown.

Marcus was employed by Axa as a trainee and cold caller from about October

2010 through February of this year, and Kennedy was employed as a

financial consultant, financial planner, trainee, and cold caller from

September 2007 through June 2010, the complaint says.

New York-based Axa Financial is a unit of France-based Axa SA.

In 2009, three former financial representatives of Northwestern Mutual

Life Insurance Co. filed a $200 million lawsuit against the company,

alleging it denied them minimum wage and overtime pay in violation of

federal and California labor laws (BestWire, June 26, 2009).

In January 2010, a circuit court judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals in

Washington, D.C., sided with Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Geico, saying the

company does not have to pay overtime to automobile damage adjusters who

sued the insurer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (BestWire, Jan. 6,

2010).

Axa Equitable Life Insurance Co. currently has a Best Financial Strength

Rating of A+ (Superior).