Central Refrigerated Trial Will Decide Award Damages to Misclassified Truck Drivers

April 05, 2017 by Clarissa Hawes

A trial is scheduled for April 25 to decide damages owed to truck drivers after a federal arbitrator found that motor carrier Central Refrigerated Service Inc. misclassified drivers as independent contractors.

All aspects of the truck drivers’ workdays were fully controlled by Central Refrigerated based on the equipment leasing and contractor agreements, which categorizes them as employees rather than contractors, federal arbitrator Patrick Irvine ruled in October 2016.

Irvine also found that the drivers should have been covered by federal minimum-wage laws and paid for every hour they worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

There are approximately 1,300 drivers as part of the collective arbitration, and 350 truck drivers with individual arbitration claims, plaintiffs’ attorney Dan Getman told Trucks.com.

Central Refrigerated, which specializes in temperature-controlled freight transportation, was acquired by corporate parent Swift Transportation in 2013. Jerry Moyes, the chief executive and controlling stockholder of Swift, was the principal owner of Central Refrigerated.

Central Refrigerated did not respond to a Trucks.com request for comment about the case.

“[Central Refrigerated] controls the manner in which the work is performed. Central Refrigerated assigns jobs and determines how much drivers will be paid for the jobs. The economic reality of the leases with [Central] Leasing effectively control how much drivers have to work because of the expenses imposed on the drivers by the leases,” Irvine wrote in his opinion.

The case has dragged on since June 2012 when truck drivers filed a collective and class-action lawsuit against Central Refrigerated. They alleged in their lawsuit that the Utah-based motor carrier controlled every aspect of their jobs. They also claimed that they are really employee drivers – not independent contractors, which the company outlined in their contracts.

Truckers for Swift Transportation Co. have been fighting a similar battle over driver misclassification.

A federal judge in that case found the drivers to be employees of the motor carrier. However, Swift has appealed the ruling and has asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the January decision.

Related: Swift Appeals Federal Driver Misclassification Ruling

4 Responses

  1. stephen webster

    There is no shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. truck driver wages need to be at least $18.00 U.S. per hour for O.T.R. drivers to compete with other jobs were you are gone for days at a time. When E-logs are mandated a rate of $18.00 U.S. per hour should be to all drivers that do not sleep in a bed in a building 5 nights per week. Overtime after 10 hours per day based on the E-log . The drivers would then want E-log and the roads would be safer The large trucking companies and shippers do understand that truck drivers need to average at least a $160.00 U.S. per day on the road and should get their reset at home or in a hotel. The trucking companies are trying to force small trucking companies out. they can then drive rates up.

  2. ether bawny

    This case has indeed dragged out but it has been worth every single day of wait. Even if it doesn’t entail a great financial return to the drivers it is showing drivers that there is still some justice in this country and the crooks are not completely in control yet. The best way to stop the crookedness is by participating and taking action such as the drivers who started this suit long ago. Lawyers and judges for justice should embrace and nurture the atmosphere these cases are bringing about because in the long run its really about protecting an industry that could or break our nation. You are not just protecting the rights of workers but protecting your country from financial disasters that are inevitable when dishonesty dominates.

    • everett marceau jr

      i am so happy that they finally get what they got coming to them to learn to be trusted and respected in the court of law we the drivers where treated like we were like dummys mr moyes you need to look in the mirror sir what do you see a low life crook that new what hes companys where doing i just hope you go to jail sir you are a low life crook that took advantantage on your drivers


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