From Lawyers and Settlements, Gordon Gibb reports that two truck drivers have begun a class action lawsuit after the California labor department said that they were employees and had been misclassified as independent contractors. Gordon writes:
“The lead plaintiffs in the proposed class action are Jose Vasquez of Lynwood and Elmer Montoya of Bellflower. The two truckers at one time were employed by Sterling Express Services, Inc. (Sterling).
According to the original complaint, Sterling was alleged to have deducted fuel, registration, parking and other costs related to the operation of the trucks from the pay packets of the two drivers. Vasquez, who drove for Sterling from August 2009 to August 2011 and Montoya, who worked for the firm from March 2012 through January 2014, both allege that Sterling failed to make timely wage payments and failed to pay overtime, a violation of the California labor code.
According to the California labor law class action, drivers felt that even though their employer wrongly (or so it is alleged) classified them as independent contractors, drivers did not have the independent authority to reject assignments from company dispatchers over fears of retaliation from dispatch. “If the truck drivers rejected an assignment, then dispatchers would retaliate against them,” the lawsuit states.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram (5/7/15) reports that in the fall of last year, the Office of the California Labor Commissioner ruled that Sterling had, indeed, wrongfully classified Vasquez and Montoya as independent contractors and ordered the employer to pay the two men lost wages and damages in accordance with California labor employment law. To that end, the compensation order for Vasquez was $74,000 with $128,000 going to Montoya.
The proposed class action would cover any driver working for Sterling who may have moved cargo on behalf of the firm to and from ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach from the date the proposed class action was filed, and extending back four years…”
Read the full story at California Truckers Just Want to be Paid.