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Truck Driver Lawsuit Featured in The Dallas Morning News Today
Today, I am happy to announce that The Dallas Morning News has featured some of my work on behalf of approximately 100 truck drivers against Native Oilfield Services. These drivers were required to arrive at work early each morning to bring sand to fracking sites in oilfields such as the Eagle Ford and Barnett Shale of Texas. However, many times, there were no trucks available for the drivers to do their work, and the drivers were required to wait at the employer’s truck yard, without pay, until a truck was issued to them. Similarly, those drivers experienced unpaid time while waiting at wellsites to offload sand. In August 2014, a federal jury determined that each of the truck drivers were not paid 18 overtime hours per week worked as a result of those experiences
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s continuous workday rule, all time, other than bona fide meal periods, between the workday’s first principal activity and the last principal activity is typically considered paid work time. This includes time spent waiting or taking short rest breaks. So, when calculating the overtime wages owed to an employee, time spent waiting for a work assignment after reporting to work at the scheduled time by the employer must generally be included. To say the least, I was honored to represent these truck drivers, and help them be paid fairly for their time and work.
In my years of representing workers who were unfairly paid for their hours, or denied overtime pay, I’ve found that there are a few reasons why these violations might happen.
The least obvious may be because of the increase in small and medium-sized businesses that are simply unaware of all of the details within the Fair Labor Standards Act. Unfortunately, their employees and contractors suffer because of the lack of understanding of wage-and-hour laws. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse for failing to pay all wages owed.
For the larger companies, violations of Fair Labor Standards Act may have more to do with boosting bottom line profits — with finding ways to make more for themselves by denying their employees the wages they earned under the law..
But here’s the good news, and this was the focus of the Dallas Morning News article: Because of an increase in social media, more and more employees, including those who are misclassified as independent contractors, are becoming aware of wage-and-hour laws rules — and what violations look like.
In particular, workers in the restaurant and hospitality sectors — two industries with some of the highest violations of wage-and-hour laws — are becoming increasingly aware.
To this I say, it’s about time! The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938 during the Great Depression in order to protect American workers. The Act established rules for overtime pay and ways to keep records and it was the Act behind the now-famous, American saying, “A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” It is a very important Act for our country, and I am happy to know that more and more people are becoming aware of their rights.