PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court ruled in May that bus drivers who cross state lines on their work routes are exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Motor Carriers Act (MCA). The decision was issued on an appeal filed by a bus driver who worked for Krapf’s Coaches, Inc., who unsuccessfully tried to sue his employer in a collective action for improperly denying him overtime wages.
Krapf’s Interstate Business
The court noted in its opinion that Krapf’s had a company policy of training its drivers on as many routes as possible, while retaining discretion to assign drivers to an either interstate or intrastate route at any time, if they have been trained on that route. The company policy imposed discipline on any driver who refused a route assignment.
The representative plaintiff filed a collective action alleging that he and 33 other drivers had been improperly denied overtime wage. Court records showed that Krapf’s followed the law governing drivers for motor carriers but only derived about 10 percent of its annual revenue from interstate routes. In fact, crossing state lines was required in only 178 of the 13, 956 trips that the plaintiffs drove in the three-year period covered in the suit.
The Motor Carrier Exemption
FLSA provides an exemption from the overtime pay requirements for any employee over whom the Secretary of Transportation has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section 204 of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935. This applies to any driver, driver’s helper, loader, or mechanic employed by a carrier whose duties affect the safety of operation of a motor vehicle engaged in transportation on public highways in interstate or foreign commerce.
For employees to qualify for the motor carrier exemption, they must:
- Be employed by a “motor carrier” that transports people or property across state lines
- Perform activities that directly affect the safety of operations of motor vehicles
- Perform activities, either as drivers, drivers’ helpers, loaders, and mechanics, involving motor vehicles that are used for transportation on public highways in interstate or foreign commerce.
Additionally, only those employees driving or working with commercial vehicles are exempt from FLSA overtime requirements. Commercial motor vehicles, with few exceptions, are those vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds and, in the case of passenger transport vehicles, are designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation. If there is no compensation involved in the passenger transport, then the vehicle may be designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver).
If you or someone you know has been unlawfully denied overtime, you should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. Our top rated team of overtime lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.