CHARLOTTE, NC — A federal judge recently approved a settlement between North Carolina-based Snyder’s-Lance pretzel company and over 100 delivery drivers at the company’s Tennessee operations site to resolve claims that the company systematically underpaid workers. Snyder’s-Lance will compensate an estimated 110 current and former workers a total of $1.6 million in back pay, including overtime, minimum wages, and attorney’s fees.
According to the unpaid overtime lawsuit, filed in July of 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Snyder’s-Lance improperly classified delivery drivers as “independent contractors” to avoid paying those workers all their due wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Snyder’s-Lance maintained that its delivery drivers actually work for themselves and were not actual company employees.
Under the FLSA, companies must pay employees one and a half times their average hourly rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Unlike employees, independent contractors are considered to work for themselves with specialized skills and equipment necessary to perform their hired duties. However, many companies attempt to take advantage of these narrow exceptions in federal and state wage laws by improperly classifying workers as independent contractors.
To help workers and businesses understand these important distinctions, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) create a 20-factor independent contractor test to help with compliance on the issue. Although workers need not satisfy every single credential on the list, the IRS and the Department of Labor do expect independent contractors to fulfill certain criteria including having their own tools, setting their own hours, creating work methods, and being able to end the contract whenever they feel obliged.
While it is significant that the plaintiffs in this particular case were able to recover their own lost wages, the truth is that this type of rampant wage theft is all too common in the trucking industry, and many workers allow it to happen. Under the FLSA, workers have the right to bring up the issue with employers and file overtime pay lawsuits if necessary to recover back pay.
Deliver Driver Overtime Pay 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.