A class action lawsuit has been filed against Prime Inc. trucking company for violations to the California labor laws. The company allegedly misclassified thousands of drivers to avoid paying them for overtime hours.
In addition to calling their drivers “independent contractors” to avoid paying full wages and overtime, they also are accused of requiring drivers to sign arbitration clauses. These essentially prevent workers from bringing claims against the company to court.
The accusations in the class-action lawsuit against Prime, Inc. don’t stop there. The driver who came forward with the original complaint also alleges that, as an independent contractor, he was required to pay the company to use the truck, as well as cover the cost of insurance and gas. This could potentially result in no paycheck some weeks.
All of these practices are argued to be standard for the trucking industry, especially classifying drivers as independent contractors. Lawsuits such as this are becoming more and more common, as this misclassification of employees allows companies to be exempt from many labor laws. It is estimated that 50,000 of the 75,000 truck drivers in the United States are labeled as independent contractors.
This isn’t the first time Prime, Inc. has run into legal trouble with regard to its employment practices. In 2014 the Labor Department ordered the company to pay $100,000 in back wages and damages to a former employee who had been retaliated against. Additionally, earlier this year Prime, Inc. was ordered to pay over $3.1 million in damages in a sex discrimination lawsuit.