Class Action Suit to Proceed for Drivers Misclassified in Illinois
When employees work more than 40 hours in a week, they are entitled to time and a half pay for overtime wages. This is a law recognized under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which protects workers from exploitative labor practices of history. The FLSA establishes a federal minimum wage, ensures sick leave, and sets child labor standards amongst other legal rights for workers. It is one of the most influential pieces of legislation affecting employee compensation in the country.
Independent contractors do not receive benefits under the FLSA. While they may enjoy greater control over their schedule and physical operations, contract workers are not afforded traditional workplace securities. Contractors may be abruptly terminated without cause, are not guaranteed a minimum wage, and do not receive overtime, sick leave, or vacation pay. They are also liable for their own safety. Although independent contract work may be desirable for personal reasons, it is also a lucrative alternative for employers who wish to limit investment in worker protections.
Truck Drivers in Illinois
A group of Illinois truck drivers accused Bosman Trucking Inc of misclassifying them as independent contractors and denying them overtime pay. The drivers were recently granted certification to bring a class action lawsuit against their employer.
The class will include drivers who were classified as independent contractors, drivers who were only paid straight time wages for workweeks that exceeded 40 hours, and individuals who were “treated as exempt from overtime requirements because of the Motor Carrier Act exemption.”
The Legal Difference Between Contractors and Employees
Independent contractors are responsible for their own safety while working. They are not eligible for workers’ compensation or covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if they are injured while on the job.
The Motor Carrier Act carves out overtime exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act. It withholds overtime pay from drivers who, like independent contractors, are responsible for their own operations, and namely, safety management. The exemption applies only to individuals whose job duties “must include the performance either regularly or from time to time, of safety-affecting activities on a motor vehicle used in transportation on public highways in interstate or foreign commerce. Employees must perform such duties as a driver, driver’s helper, loader, or mechanic.” The exemption does not apply to “commercial garages, firms engaged in the business of maintaining and repairing motor vehicles owned and operated by carriers, or firms engaged in the leasing and renting of motor vehicles to carriers.”
Misclassifying workers is a pernicious issue. Independent contractors, as an employment structure, are significantly different from traditional employees. The forthcoming class action case will expound on contractors’ vulnerability to financial abuse and spotlight the benefits traditional employees are entitled to receive.
Contact the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis Today
Have you been denied overtime wages at your job even after working 40 hours? If so, seek legal assistance from the employment lawyers at the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City and in Livingston, New Jersey. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.