August 2014

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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96 | Overdrive | August 2014 Logbook Text INFO to 205-289-3555 or visit www.ovdinfo.com (Continued from Page 22) Court rules for paid meal, rest breaks A federal appeals court ruled last month that motor carriers are not exempt from California state law requiring mandatory paid breaks for workers. The ruling over- turns one made by a lower court that had exempted motor carriers and opens the door for similar challenges in California and elsewhere. Three drivers for Penske Logistics brought the class-action suit against the carrier in 2008, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision could be the final stop, barring a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear the case. California law requires em- ployers to give employees a paid 30-minute meal break for every five hours on the clock and paid 10-minute breaks for every four hours on the clock. Plaintiffs Mickey Lee Dilts, Ray Rios and Donny Dushaj claimed Penske failed to ensure drivers could take their breaks and created an "environment that discourages employees from taking their meal and rest breaks," according to documents. Penske had argued that given the structure of driving jobs, it was exempt under the Federal Aviation Administration Authori- zation Act of 1994, which it said pre-empts state law. The Ninth District's three-judge panel, however, said that Califor- nia's break laws are "not 'related to' defendant's prices, routes or services, and therefore they were not preempted by" FAAAA. Michael Duff, Penske's senior vice president and general counsel, said the company was "disappointed" and that it was reviewing its options. Richard Pianka, vice president and deputy general counsel for the American Trucking Associations, said the decision's ramifications could reach beyond the state line. This would include drivers coming into California to work, regardless of where the carrier is based, and challenges could be mounted in other states with similar rest break require- ments, Pianka suggested. — James Jaillet and Kevin Jones

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