SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH: The class and collective action lawsuit filed against C.R. England earlier this year is becoming a major legal battle between the company’s current and former truck drivers and the company. As of the writing of this article, more than 5,000 C.R. England drivers have filed Consent Forms to join the C.R. England Class Action Lawsuit (as of 11/9/2013). The collective and class action lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Utah earlier this year, was certified as a collective action in September of 2013.
The C.R. England Class Action Lawsuit asserts that drivers were paid under minimum wage throughout their employment with C.R. England. Specifically, drivers contend that the company categorically failed to track their compensable hours, and paid them an amount which was significantly less than the federal minimum wage as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the lawsuit, the legal violations began almost immediately upon hire, where new drivers were forced to attend mandatory orientation without pay, and in many cases, were forced to pay the company an “administrative fee” to attend the mandatory orientation.
[box box title=”Mandatory Training Must be Paid” box_color=”#4fbbca” title_color=”#000000″]Federal regulations require that mandatory training periods be paid, and federal law generally prohibits employers from charging employees for mandatory on-the-job training. Per 29 CFR §785.27, mandatory training must be paid unless the following 4 criteria are met: (a) Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours; (b) Attendance is in fact voluntary; (c) The course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee’s job; and (d) The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.[/box]
According to the FLSA C.R. England Class Action lawsuit, the violations of the law did not stop once orientation concluded. Instead, drivers were then forced to work over-the-road for weeks on end and were paid only a base salary during this time. The lawsuit asserts that the base salary undercompensated drivers because it did not take into account the number of compensable hours worked. The drivers contend that C.R. England was only permitted to consider, at most, 8 hours of each 24-hour period as non-work time because the drivers remained on assignment for more than 24 hours.
[box box title=”What constitutes work for over-the-road truck drivers?” box_color=”#4fbbca” title_color=”#000000″]Federal regulations limit the amount of unpaid breaks an employee may be subject to when he or she is on assignment for more than 24 consecutive hours. Per 29 C.F.R. §785.22, “Where an employee is required to be on duty for 24 hours or more, the employer and the employee may agree to exclude bona fide meal periods and a bona fide regularly scheduled sleeping period of not more than 8 hours from hours worked, provided adequate sleeping facilities are furnished by the employer and the employee can usually enjoy an uninterrupted night’s sleep. If sleeping period is of more than 8 hours, only 8 hours will be credited.” [/box]
The C.R. England Class Action Lawsuit further seeks damages relating to pay provided to C.R. England drivers following training, as the drivers contend that the mileage rates were too low and hence, many weeks resulted in payment below the federal minimum wage.
If you have worked for C.R. England as an over-the-road truck driver during the last three years, you may join the C.R. England Class Action lawsuit by submitting a Consent Form online here. The deadline to file is December 31, 2013. There is not cost to you for joining the lawsuit.
Swartz Swidler, LLC represents the truck drivers in their fight for wages. Swartz Swidler, LLC is an employment law firm based in New Jersey which focuses on nationwide wage and hour disputes, with a particular emphasis in the trucking industry. Swartz Swidler, LLC is class counsel in a similar case which has been certified as class action against Werner Enterprises, where they represent more than 50,000 truck drivers. If you have worked for any trucking company in the last three years and believe your rights may have been violated, please call us today for a free consultation.