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California Truckers Misclassified—Claiming Labor Law Violations

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Los Angeles, CAAll too often employers misclassify their workers in an effort to save money. Graebel Van Lines classify their truck drivers as independent contractors and avoid providing for meal and rest breaks, and other California labor law violations, according to the truckers’ lawsuit, which is seeking class action status.

The lawsuit, filed February 22 on behalf of California trucker Fidel Cornel, alleges that Graebel violated California labor codes by requiring drivers to work shifts lasting more than four hours without receiving a 10-minute rest break; requiring drivers to work shifts longer than five or 10 hours and not providing or allowing required 30-minute meal breaks; and failing to pay class members for all hours worked. Further, The suit also alleges that the truckers suffered loss of wages and compensation by failing to be paid for all hours worked, and failing to be paid minimum and overtime wages.

The company might want to take into consideration the ruling by a federal judge in January on similar accusations. Senior U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick determined that five drivers for Swift Transportation Co., headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona were misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. The judge agreed with the plaintiffs: they are employees because the giant carrier controlled every aspect of their work schedules – including how they delivered freight and which routes they had to use—and Swift controlled the equipment the truckers used, including the maintenance and condition of the trucks.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Dan Getman said the judge’s ruling over the misclassification question as “significant for the drivers.” Even though the ruling didn’t take place in California, misclassified drivers nationwide are paying attention. And California truckers have filed over 800 claims alleging they have been misclassified as independent contractors and as such were denied benefits owed to employees.

If Graebel Van Lines signed up for the Motor Carrier Amnesty Program, they would be off the hook for any liability that may result in fines and other penalties should they receive the same ruling as Swift. But the deadline ended on the last day of 2016.

According to (January 2017) Graebel has also cut costs by laying off about 50 of its employees. “We will work side-by-side with [those employees] to offer our support as they transition to new opportunities,” said Chris Preston, Chief Operating Officer for Graebel Van Lines. Perhaps he will see those 50 former employees side-by-side in the courtroom. The lawsuit seeks class action status for drivers who worked or lived in California and were employed by the company within the last four years.


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Same similar thing happen to me with a company called TRANS-AM


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