Big Victory for Misclassified Port Drivers
March 14, 2016 by Andrew Baker
The Teamsters have struck a major victory in their campaign to organize port drivers. The California Labor Commissioner’s office has ordered Pacific 9 Transportation to compensate 38 employee drivers who were misclassified as independent contractors. The company will have to pay the drivers for illegal paycheck deductions, back wages and legal costs.
What makes this case unusual is the large number of employee cases handled at the same time. Normally, the Labor Commissioner’s office handles employee misclassification cases one employee at a time. But in this case, and two others recently heard by the Labor Commissioner’s office, the claims of dozens of drivers were heard at once.
Labor Commissioner Julie Su said, “In this industry, we have found misclassification routinely in the cases we’ve heard.”
In the Pacific 9 case, the ruling noted that the independent contract agreements signed by the drivers “often amount to a subterfuge to avoid paying payroll taxes, income taxes and workers’ compensation liability.”
Most of the payouts ordered to the drivers were to reimburse for unlawful paycheck deductions to cover lease payments, insurance, maintenance and other costs. But payouts included compensation for missed meal and rest breaks, and even for minimum wage violations. The average, per driver payout ordered by the Commission was $187,000.
For more information on the Port Driver efforts:
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