The California Labor Commissioner ruled that XPO Cartage must pay four drayage truck drivers $855,000 for improperly classifying them as independent contractors when they should have been considered employees.
XPO “retained pervasive control over the operation as a whole, and plaintiffs’ services were an integral part of [XPO’s] business,” the Labor Commissioner said in the April 14 ruling. “Substantial evidence supports the findings that plaintiffs were functioning as employees rather than as true independent contractors.”
XPO Logistics, the parent company of XPO Cartage, plans to appeal the California ruling.
“We know firsthand that the majority of owner-operators who serve our customers prefer to work as independent contractors, and we will continue to advocate for their right to do so,” said an XPO spokeswoman. “The next step in the process is to have a full and fair trial in the California court system.”
The awards included nearly $280,000 to XPO driver Jose Herrera, $216,000 to Jose A. Lopez, $188,000 to Napoleon Gaitan and $172,000 to Domingo Avalos. The drivers shuttled cargo at a railyard in Los Angeles.
In the ruling, the Labor Commissioner included awards to the drivers for their nonproductive time of around $38,000 each in wages for unpaid hours.
The drivers alleged they were not paid for time spent waiting for assignments, at customers and performing pre-and post-shift duties, including conducting vehicle inspections and submitting paperwork.
These awards were based on a California law passed in 2016 that requires employers to pay employees that are paid piece rate for nonproductive time, Nick Weiner, spokesman for the Teamsters, told Trucks.com.
Since 2011, California truckers have filed roughly 800 wage claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, which adjudicates wage claims and is the enforcement branch under the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. The drivers allege they have been misclassified as independent contractors and denied benefits including wages, overtime pay, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.
Drivers have won more than $36 million in over 300 cases, and there are still approximately 196 wage claims pending.