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Insurance support firm sued for misclassifying workers

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Plaintiff law firm Sanford Heisler L.L.P. has filed a putative class action against an insurance underwriting support services firm, charging that it misclassified its insurance inspectors as independent contractors rather than employees.

The complaint against Overland Park, Kansas-based Overland Solutions Inc., which was filed in state superior court in Oakland, California, on Wednesday, charges the firm with “illegal practices of dodging employment laws” by classifying its insurance inspectors as independent contractors “despite exercising extensive control over the manner in which inspectors performed their work.”

“OSI practices have deprived plaintiff and all other current and former insurance inspectors of minimum wages to which they are entitled and committed over violations of California wage and hour law,” says the lawsuit, Martin Fletcher et al. v. Overland Solutions Inc. and Does 1-100.

OSI provides premium audits, underwriting surveys, replacement cost evaluations and loss control services.

The lawsuit charges that inspectors are required to go through an extensive hiring process that includes a rigorous background check; that they are hired through the same or similar processes as workers who are classified as employee; that OSI exerts the right to control how they communicate with third parties; and that it provides the workers with scripts to follow.

The lawsuit seeks certification as a class action, restitution and punitive damages, among other compensation.

An OSI spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.