NEW YORK — For many years, truck drivers typically worked as independent contractors, leasing their vehicles used to transport goods across the country for other parties. Typically, companies paid drivers by the mileage covered or per job and the operators were not entitled to minimum wages, overtime, or health care benefits that most other workers would expect. Truck drivers assumed these were legal aspects of the job.
However, much of that is beginning to change as disenfranchised drivers have begun to question whether their status as independent contractors is appropriate or even legal under state and federal wage laws. Although there is no definitive answers as of yet, some courts have already begun to side with truck drivers bringing unpaid overtime lawsuits against shipping companies that claim their drivers are not actual employees.
Federal Independent Contractor Laws and Truck Drivers
Under the law, independent contractors must meet certain criteria set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a 20-factor independent contractor test to qualify for this designation and be exempt from overtime. Although workers need not meet every single criteria on the list, regulators expect these individuals to exercise control over scheduling, work methods, and utilize their own tools and skills to perform duties.
Furthermore, the roles independent contractors perform should not be vital to the company/employer’s operations in order to qualify for independent contractor classification. While most truck drivers assume their employer follows the law, the truth is that many companies know their practices may violate state and federal wage laws but rely on the workers’ trust to keep wages low and abstain from paying benefits.
Recent overtime pay lawsuits and settlements over truck driver classification in California have begun to chip away at the long held practice of misclassifying these workers as independent contractors. Other preliminary rulings in Arizona also opened the door for potentially thousands of truck drivers to sue employers and recover millions in back pay, interest on lost wages, and other benefits.
Truck Driver Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.