Our firm has litigated and settled dozens of class actions on behalf of thousands of California truck drivers, and have helped those individuals recover substantial unpaid wages, damages, and related penalties.
If you are a truck driver in California, you have likely faced many of the same problems as our previous clients. However, many truck drivers are not aware that the state of California provides several protections for truck drivers, and we are experts at litigating against trucking companies to recover the unpaid wages to which you may be entitled.
Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to discuss any issues you may have or if you have any questions regarding your rights under California law.
The sections below discuss the most common violations we see committed against truck drivers, namely: (1) drivers classified as “independent contractors” or “owner-operators”, (2) drivers paid by the mile or per-load.
Many trucking companies classify their truck drivers as “independent contractors” (or owner operators) in an effort to lower costs and expenses. And, in addition to unpaid wage claims that arise from this misclassification, these companies often shift the cost of doing business to the drivers by making them lease a vehicle directly from the company or pay for their own insurance.
Thankfully, a company does not get to unilaterally decide whether someone is an “independent contractor.” In fact, the opposite is true. The presumption under California law is that everyone is an employee, and the burden is on a company to prove otherwise. This is a difficult task for companies in the trucking industry because the main focus is whether the company has the right to control the method and manner of how you perform your duties as a driver. For example, if the company imposes detailed cargo requirements, sets your schedule, sets deadlines to deliver items, and imposes other similar requirements, it is likely that you are an employee and entitled to significant unpaid wages, unreimbursed expenses, and related penalties.
If you are a California truck driver classified as an “independent contractor,” you may be owed a substantial amount of money. Please contact Peter Carlson, Brian Mankin, or Misty Lauby with Lauby, Mankin & Lauby LLP at 888-959-8508 for a free consultation.
Truck drivers that are paid “by-the-mile” often spend substantial amounts of time during the day when ‘the wheels stop rolling’ and, thus, they are not receiving any “by-the-mile” pay. Common examples of these unpaid tasks are: pre-trip and post-trip inspections, detention time, loading and unloading, completing paperwork, refueling or repair, and downtime between runs.
Similarly, drivers that are paid “per-load” or “per-trip” are often required to do tasks unrelated to the load itself, such as attending meetings, completing paperwork, or waiting for dispatch. Due to the nature of the “per-load” pay, these unrelated tasks are also unpaid.
However, it is illegal for trucking companies not to separately pay hourly wages to California truck drivers for this downtime. The law is clear that employees must be compensated for every minute worked, and companies cannot claim that per-mile or per-load pay properly compensates for this downtime since those tasks simply do not earn per-mile pay or relate to the load itself.
Many trucking companies are still not complying with California law for truck drivers. If you are a California truck driver, please contact our firm for a free consultation as you may be owed significant back wages and penalties.