Judge Reaffirms, Expands Driver Minimum Wage Ruling… Could Have “Serious Implications”

Tontitown, Arkansas – The U.S. District judge who ruled last October that PAM Transport must pay truck drivers at least a minimum wage for 16 hours per day, affirmed the decision once again last week.

On Friday, US District Judge Timothy Brooks reaffirmed that PAM Transport violated federal labor laws when they didn’t pay their truck-driver employees at least minimum wage for every non-sleeping hour spent in their truck. More than 3,000 drivers are part of the class-action suit against the Arkansas carrier.

Brook’s could not have been more clear in his October 2018 decision when he wrote:

“There is no ambiguity here, then, as to whether an employer must count as hours worked the time that an employee spends riding in a commercial truck while neither sleeping nor eating: time thus spent “is working” and “any work” performed “while traveling must … be counted as hours worked.”

In last week’s decision, Brooks widened the scope of his judgement which many experts believe could have substantial impact within the trucking industry. Brooks held that the suit against PAM Transport can be tried as a class-action suit under Arkansas law which is more strenuous than federal labor laws.

 

According to a Business Insider report, attorney for the PAM Transport drivers, Justin Swidler, said the affect of the new ruling could be big. “It greatly enlarges the number of people who can benefit,” Swidler told the online news outlet.

In a statement, Angela Clark, who is vice president of risk management at PAM Transport, said the company was “disappointed” and would “vigorously fight” the ruling. Clark also warned the ruling “has serious implications to the trucking industry.”

The battle between truck drivers and their trucking company employers over how to fairly compensate professional truckers has been being fought for decades. The PAM Transport case could serve as a precedent setting moment and one in which could deliver a big victory to labor for years to come.

Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow the developments.

 

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