Many of the nation’s commercial truck and transport drivers are falling victim to wage theft and other violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a trend that has been spotlighted by a few highly visible filed class action lawsuits.
A federal court in Los Angeles recently recommended that a case involving more than 100 FedEx line-haul drivers be certified as a class action, which could potentially include all operators who worked for the company from January 2012 to present. According to details reported on Law360 (subscription required), the drivers allege that they were paid exclusively on a mileage basis, with no compensation for non-driving activities or rest and meal breaks as required under California law. They also accuse FedEx of failing to provide them with accurate wage statements.
This action is one of many wage and overtime lawsuits brought by FedEx drivers. Last month, for example, the package delivery giant agreed to a $228-million settlement with 2,300 FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery drivers working in California who alleged that the company misclassified them as independent contractors to short-change them on compensation and benefits. The same misclassification issue is at the heart of class actions in Florida, where 1,600 full-time FedEx Ground or FedEx Home Delivery drivers are currently suing for unpaid wages, and in Kansas, where the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that 479 FedEx Ground Package Systems delivery drivers are in fact employees and not independent contractors.
Between 2003 and 2009, FedEx drivers in more than 40 states filed wage and hour lawsuits against FedEx, which were then consolidated and transferred to the Northern District of Indiana by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Several other actions have been initiated since then.
Last week, a group of delivery drivers in New Jersey initiated a proposed class action against Home Depot, alleging that the home improvement retailer forced them to take compensatory time off rather than pay overtime, in violation of both New Jersey employment law and the FLSA.
Wage theft also occurs in smaller companies, too, as evidenced by a $3.7-million damages award secured by current and former oilfield fracking operations truck drivers employed by Native Oilfield Services LLC. In that matter, the court ruled that the company and its president violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, finding in favor of the class of 104 truck drivers who alleged they were owed compensation for up to 18 unpaid overtime hours each week over a period of several years.
The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group have represented thousands of workers wage and hour disputes. If you work as a truck or delivery driver and believe that you have not received all the compensation to which the law entitles you, please contact us today to discuss your situation.