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Driving On California Overtime

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Los Angeles, CAFrom limousine chauffeurs to tow-trucks operators, drivers have been misclassified as exempt and denied California overtime pay. Bill says that driving for Steve’s Towing was like modern day slavery. “We worked around the clock without breaks and often had to use the side of the road for a restroom or even had to go in my truck using a Gatorade bottle.”

Bill worked as a tow-truck driver for three years without vacation or sick pay and “never got a dime of overtime”. Lunch breaks were unheard of. His employer thought he could get away with scheduling drivers up to 16-hours shifts without overtime because they were paid a salary. “When we figured out the hours worked in a week, most of us were making less than minimum wage,” adds Bill.

After an inquiry to the California labor board and researching online, Bill understood that his employer was in violation of the California labor law—he was also owed overtime due to meal penalties. He did approach the general manager, but almost lost his job. “After I complained this guy harassed me constantly, which just added to his already abusive demeanor,” Bill says.

Truck Drivers and California Overtime

Unless employees in California meet one of the exemptions, the general rule is that they are entitled to overtime pay. Truck drivers, however, may be exempt from California overtime, because a number of different laws regulate the hours of service for truck drivers. But the overtime laws are complex: federal law may trump state law if you do not drive your truck in "interstate commerce”. If you do drive interstate, you are not entitled to overtime. Generally you are entitled to meal breaks, however.

It would appear that Bill has been misclassified as exempt and therefore entitled to overtime compensation. Rather than wait for help from the California labor board, Bill says he is fast-tracking his claim and discussing a California overtime lawsuit with an experienced employment attorney.

California overtime laws are complex, particularly when they involve truck drivers.

The exemption pertaining to truck drivers states:

(L) The provisions of this section [California Overtime] are not applicable to employees whose hours of service are regulated by:
(1) The United States Department of Transportation Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Sections 395.1 to 395.13, Hours of Service of Drivers, or;
(2) Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, subchapter 6.5, Section 1200 and the following sections, regulating hours of drivers.
Thus, if your hours of service are regulated by any of those sections, you are not entitled to California overtime -- though you will have to read below to see if you are entitled to Federal overtime. The following are the types of drivers that are covered by the above sections:
1) If the truck that you drive has a gross weight rating of 26,001 lbs or more, then you are automatically exempt from California overtime law. You must read the section on Federal overtime to see if you qualify for that.
2) If the truck that you drive had a gross weight rating of 10,000-26,000 lbs, then you will be exempt only if your truck also drives in interstate commerce.
3) If the truck you drive is a farm labor vehicle or is transporting hazardous waste, then you are exempt from California overtime law. You must read the section on Federal overtime to see if you qualify for that.
4) If the truck you driver tows a trailer so that the combined length is more than 40 feet, you are exempt from California overtime law.
5) If the truck that you drive is regulated by the California Public Utility Commission (PUC), then you are exempt from California overtime law.
6) If the truck you drive tows a regulated trailer with a total gross weight rating of more than 10,000 lbs, you are exempt from California overtime law.

California Overtime Settlements

A settlement was reached in the Eduardo Aguyayo v Oldenkamp (CASE NO. CV F 04-6279 AWI LJO) trucking class action lawsuit involving truck drivers who hauled milk intrastate, i.e., not outside the state of California. In September 2004, Aguayo filed a lawsuit against Oldenkamp Trucking, alleging that he worked for Oldenkamp Trucking as a truck driver and was entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of forty (40) per week

In Enrique Enciso v Evans Dedicated Systems Inc (CASE NO. CV-07-2274 VBF (JTLx) ), a settlement was reached for all truck drivers employed by Evans who were employed between January 2004-August 2008, who worked in excess of 40 hours per week and did not receive overtime pay.


California Overtime Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to an employment law lawyer who may evaluate your California Overtime claim at no cost or obligation.


Posted by


I have worked for the same company for 5 yrs as a tow truck driver. In the past 3 years I've probably only been paid on time 3 times. I don't complain because I need my job but have got to do SOMETHING, so have been researching online what I can do. If I can file a complaint anonymously, sue, etc. Can you please lead me in the right direction.
This company has also charged me for damage they claimed was done to a motorcycle I towed. They took 600.00 from one pay check then 500.00 from the next for a total of $1100.

Thank you

Posted by

I am a local hourly driver in CA for Knight Refrigerated. I have worked for them for 10 yrs and never received any overtime pay nor do any of our local drivers. I do NOT leave the state. Additionally, I had a heart attack and have been turned down for state SDI because they claim I am an interstate driver in AZ (I am not) and my W2 shows all my wages to be in CA with their CA State I.D. Knight failed to properly deduct for SDI and submit to the state (even when I asked them too, they refused). Now I have no income and cannot work. The state of CA however requires me to pay tax to CA. I need help


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