According to court records, lead plaintiff Roy Taylor originally took FedEx to task over lack of pay for line-haul drivers who are paid based on mileage. However, the plaintiff asserts that wages based on mileage did not account for the various non-driving activities performed by a line-haul driver during the course of a workday. Included in the list of allegations was a lack of provision for meal and rest periods as required under California labor code, and failure to provide accurate wage statements, or so it is alleged.
The certification by US District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill supports an earlier ruling by US Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe in May, who recommended certification.
The proposed class would represent line-haul drivers who worked for the venerable shipping company from January 2012 through to the time of trial, together with a subclass of drivers who had since left the company’s employ during that period.
In disputing Magistrate Judge McAuliffe’s reasoning, FedEx argued that individual damages calculations could overwhelm questions common to the class. However, Judge O’Neill of the US District Court would have none of it, maintaining that Judge McAuliffe got it right. He adopted the earlier ruling by the Magistrate Judge in its entirety.
Judge McAuliffe had said in May there was no evidence she could find that FedEx’s mileage-based policy was discretionary, and that FedEx did not dispute the existence of a companywide policy of mileage pay for non-driving activities.
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“Defendants’ objections are virtually identical to the arguments considered and properly rejected by the magistrate judge’s well-reasoned findings and recommendations,” the judge wrote in his certification, which was handed down July 27. As part of Judge O’Neill’s ruling, plaintiff Taylor will serve as the class representative in the California and labor law class action.
The case was removed to federal court in July 2013.
The California labor lawsuit is Roy Taylor v. FedEx Freight Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-01137, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.