Employees of SuperShuttle International Inc. allege that their employer has misclassified them as 'independent contactors' and / or 'franchisees' over a four-year period. Such designations would allow the company, the suit alleges, to do an end run around State labor laws and statutes governing basics such as minimum wage and overtime pay.
In so doing, it is alleged that the company unfairly shifts operating expenses to the drivers. Such a practice would be doubly frustrating given the rise in the price of fuel over the course of the past year.
SuperShuttle is based in Scottsdale, Arizona but serves Sacramento International Airport. The suit alleges that the company illegally requires their shuttle van drivers to cover the leasing costs, and the maintenance of their vehicles. It is further alleged that insurance premiums, and other expenses are shifted onto the backs of the operators.
At the end of the day—and a very long day it turns out—drivers have reported that once all expenses and operating costs are deducted, operators wind up with an actual wage in real dollars of less than minimum wage. According to the suit drivers are often behind the wheel more than 12 hours in any given day, and that's without meal breaks or overtime pay.
It was revealed on May 19th when court documents were filed that SuperShuttle could be in the position of owing as much as $100 million dollars in unreimbursed expenses, back wages, penalties and interest to roughly 500 current, and former employees of the company.
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It has been noted that the SuperShuttle case closely mirrors that of a recent matter involving FedEx Ground. That lawsuit represented drivers in California, a litigation that the company lost both at trial, and on appeal.
The 28-page lawsuit was filed in Alameda Superior Court earlier in May, although there are those who feel it could take years to go through the courts.
Still, the drivers should be commended for acting on their claim, and taking steps to pursue the matter through proper legal channels, rather than just roll over and take what their employer is allegedly dishing out.
Not that they want to drive SuperShuttle International Inc into the poorhouse. No, where the rubber hits the road, all they're looking for is their due…