The class, which includes the company's financial product marketers, financial product marketer trainees and cold callers, exceeds 1,000 workers and former employees, according to the suit.
AXA, one of the world's largest insurance companies with 2010 revenues of 91 billion euros -- $129 billion, is the company whose popular TV commercials feature a 900-pound gorilla.
Failure to pay overtime violates the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) which covers employees paid commissions. The suit alleged the violations go back as far as 2005.
Employees of the company were paid a $24,000 base salary plus a percentage share of any commissions earned by licensed brokers, if they were successful in obtaining new accounts for the brokers, according to court papers.
One employee, Bennet Marcus, of New York City, worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. five days a week and was unpaid during his training, according to the suit. He worked for AXA from October 2010 through February 2011 as a trainee and cold caller.
The suit, which requests a jury trial, seeks unspecified back wages and overtime, damages, interest, attorney fees and costs. In addition to the claims under federal law, the plaintiffs also are seeking damages for underpayment of wages under New York State law for AXA's workers in New York.