On November 12, 2015, truck drivers for Vitran Express Inc. won class certification on their claims that their employer discouraged and prevented them from taking meal periods and rest breaks in violation of wage and hour law. The class encompasses Vitran drivers in California who worked from four years before the suit was filed (2010) who were denied extra wages for working through their breaks. Specifically, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner found that the named plaintiffs satisfied all the requirements for class certification including commonality of claims.
“Plaintiffs have proffered sufficient evidence to support the existence of a uniform, unofficial policy to violate the labor laws . . . Fifteen employees situated at four of five work sites declared in unison — and without exception — that defendant implemented and uniformly applied an unofficial policy to deprive class members of their legally required meal and rest breaks.”
As of today,156 members of the class have been identified.
This is the latest in a series of bad luck decisions for Vitran. In 2012, Judge Klausner overruled a prior finding that California’s meal and rest break requirements do not cover trucking companies due to preemption by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. The basis for his ruling was that meal and rest breaks impact transportation scheduling, not the services offered or prices of delivery covered by the FAAAA. The Ninth Circuit upheld this decision in July 2014, finding that preemption did not apply because the wage and hour regulations don’t have a significant enough impact on prices or services.
Notably, although Vitran had defended its policy by stating that preemption applied because complying with the regulations would impact pricing and services, Judge Klausner did not find this constitutes an admission of liability.
The Case is Brandon Campbell et al. v. Vitran Express Inc. et al., case number 2:11-cv-05029, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
If you have questions regarding California wage and hour law contact California attorney Jessica Diulio at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the experienced attorneys at Ford & Diulio PC at (714)-384-5540.