There are major legal issues in the California courts right now that significantly impact the transportation industry. Here are three of them:
Independent Contractor Drivers. In The People vs. Pac Anchor Transport, California’s attorney general sued Pac, claiming they misclassified their drivers as independent contractors when in reality they were employees. Barajas, the owner of Pac, owned 75 trucks. He recruits drivers and then leases his trucks and the drivers to Pac. The court found that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) did not prevent the attorney general from suing Pac for misclassification of its drivers.
Driver Pay. The California Labor Commission has determined that drivers paid by the mile or the shipment are not then compensated for time when they are not driving – for instance, for time when they conduct pre- or post-trip vehicle inspections or time waiting to pick-up or deliver a load. Carriers that pay in this manner need to pay additional wages for non-driving time.
Meal and Rest Breaks. Many class actions have been filed against numerous California carriers for failure to provide drivers, and others, with meal and rest breaks required under the California Labor Code. The critical legal issue is whether the FAAAA preempts California from enforcing its meal and rest break laws against truck drivers. The federal courts in this state have issued conflicting decisions, and several cases (Dilts v. Penske Logistics and Campbell v. Vitran) are now on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court.
In the meantime, carriers should make sure that they comply with California transportation meal and rest break laws. The law allows plaintiffs filing such class actions to go back in time three or four years in computing what can be enormous damages in instances when the carrier is unable to show that its drivers, and others, were provided the required meal and rest breaks.
To learn more about the latest legal updates in the transportation industry, please contact our attorneys today.