DALLAS, TEXAS: Earlier this week, three over-the-road truck drivers of Stevens Transport, Inc. filed a class and collective action lawsuit asserting that the trucking company violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by paying them under the federal minimum wage for all hours worked. Swartz Swidler, LLC, an employment law firm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (NJ) which focuses on employment law with an emphasis on wage and hour litigation, represents the truck drivers in the action.
Swartz Swidler, LLC filed the federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, where Stevens Transport, Inc. is headquartered. The lawsuit seeks unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs on behalf of the three named plaintiffs and the entire putative class, which according to the Complaint, contains several thousand individuals.
Specifically, the lawsuit asserts that Stevens violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by failing to pay at least minimum wage for compensable rest breaks, sleeper berth time, travel time, and training. According to the lawsuit, the truck drivers were required to attend an initial orientation where they were denied minimum wage, and then forced into a training program where they were paid $350 to $400 per week despite working 16 hours per day, 7 days per week, while remaining over-the-road transporting cargo for Stevens. The lawsuit further asserts that following training, employees were still frequently denied minimum wage.
[note color=”#edfb89″]Truck drivers are frequently not informed regarding their rights to compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act for time logged in a sleeper berth while over-the-road. Federal regulations require that some or all of the time a truck driver spends in a sleeper berth while over-the-road constitutes work time and accordingly, the truck driver must be paid for such time. 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. Where no expressed or implied agreement to the contrary is present, the 8 hours of sleeping time and lunch periods constitute hours worked.[/note]
The employees also assert that Stevens misclassified certain truck drivers by labeling them independent contractors and requiring that they make “lease” payments to Stevens to use trucks providing by Stevens. According to the lawsuit, even though employees were required to provide regular lease payments, the employees were not permitted to use the trucks except to deliver loads provided by Stevens.
Swartz Swidler, LLC is a prominent employment law firm based in the Philadelphia area which focuses heavily on nationwide wage and hour disputes, with a particular emphasis on the trucking industry. Swartz Swidler is litigating similar FLSA lawsuits against Werner Enterprises and C.R. England. If you are or have been a truck driver in the United States and think you may be entitled to wages for time spent in a sleeper or other time spent over the road, please call us today to speak to one of our employment attorneys for a free consultation.
If you have been employed by Stevens Trasport in the last three years and would like to join the collective action to potentially collect unpaid wages due to you, please submit a Consent Form to join the lawsuit. You can join online here.