The California Trucking Association was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The association’s appeal requested that thousands of drivers were reclassified as full-time employees. This affected “private owner-operators” of freight hauling companies. These workers in transportation do not receive minimum wage, overtime pay or reimbursement for business expenses.
Recently, Swift Transportation reimbursed many former and current drivers for this misclassification. The trucking company gave over $100 million to these workers. Therefore, many are calling for new regulations that would ensure drivers are no longer wrongly classified and are reimbursed properly.
Standard California drivers usually sign a contract with a transportation company under the title “owner-operator.” This means that companies don’t have to pay these drivers for full-time employment. Even though these drivers are working full-time.
Many drivers are responding to this injustice. Over 400 drivers have challenged their arrangement with a company with the Department of Industrial Relations. The department has classified most cases as employees. Other truckers have become a part of class action suit, pursuing employee status.
Due to a 1989 state Supreme Court ruling, the company has jurisdiction on owner-operator or employee status. Unfortunately, this ruling establishes that those who are classified as employees only if the company has significant control over the work of an individual.
The Trucking Association likes the current arrangement because it keeps business costs low. If the appeal were approved, an “employee” would “no longer be able to provide the service it was once providing through a driver, or that the route or price of that service will be compelled to change.” Therefore, becoming an employee would negatively impact a driver’s career. Although, the Court of Appeals believes that a driver’s
The state’s goal is to protect California Drivers and ensure they have proper labor rights. Only time will tell whether or not the trucking industry will improve its conditions for drivers.