Custis Law, P.C. has filed a class action lawsuit against LDI Trucking, Inc. and Lexmar Distribution, Inc. for violations of California’s Labor Code and Unfair Competition Law. The lead plaintiffs are former drivers Wesley Harris and Dylan Kruse. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the lead plaintiffs and all current and former California-based non-exempt drivers who worked for LDI Trucking or Lexmar at any time between April 12, 2015, and the present.
The complaint alleges that LDI Trucking and Lexmar (a) failed to pay drivers for rest period time and other non-productive time as required by Labor Code § 226.2; (b) failed to pay minimum wages; (c) failed to provide off-duty meal periods; (d) failed to provide off-duty rest periods; (e) failed to provide accurate wage statements; and (f) failed to pay wages when due at termination or resignation. The lead plaintiffs also will allege a claim for violation of California’s Private Attorney Generals Act of 2004, known as PAGA.
The class action is seeking all available remedies, including back wages, statutory penalties, and civil penalties, on behalf of the plaintiffs and other current and former California-based drivers, and the State of California. The lawsuit is pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Piece-Rate Compensation and California’s Labor Code Section 226.2
California employers can pay their employees on an hourly basis, a salary basis or a piece-rate basis. Piece-rate pay means that the employer pays you based on your output. For example, many trucking companies pay their truck drivers a flat rate for completing a route, for delivering a load or by the mile.
California’s Labor Code Section 226.2 requires employers who compensate their employees on a piece-rate basis to pay their employees separately for their rest period and other non-productive time. Non-productive time includes time spent waiting for customers, waiting on loading and unloading of shipments and waiting for dispatch. Employers are required to pay at least the minimum wage for non-productive time, and may be required to pay more than minimum wage for rest period time.
And that rest period pay can add up. Assuming an employee works a full-time schedule, five days a week, the employee should be provided with two, ten-minute rest breaks a day or a total of 100 minutes of rest break time each week. That’s equivalent to 1.667 hours a week and 86.68 hours in one year. Even at the current minimum wage of $12.00, that means that an employer who is not paying at least the minimum wage for rest period time is depriving the employee of $1,040.16 each year.
Pay Stub and Wage Statement Requirements Under California Law
California’s Labor Code Section 226 requires employers to include a variety of accurate information on their employees’ wage statements (sometimes called “pay stubs”). As you might imagine, the purpose of this law is to ensure that employees can determine whether they have been paid the correct amount of wages for each pay period. Among other information, employers are required to include the accurate amount of the employee’s gross wages earned, total hours worked, net wages earned and the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid.
California law allows an employee who suffers injury as a result of an employer’s knowing and intentional failure to provide an accurate wage statement to recover a penalty in the amount of fifty dollars ($50) for the first pay period that a violation occurs and one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation in a later pay period, up to a maximum aggregate penalty of four thousand dollars ($4,000).
Those penalties can add up. The statute of limitations, or deadline, for seeking penalties for inaccurate wage statements is one year. If your employer knowingly and intentionally provides you with 26 inaccurate wage statements within that one-year period, you could collect a penalty in the amount of $2,550 ($50 for the first inaccurate wage statement and $2,500 for the next twenty-five inaccurate wage statements). And if your employer provides you with 41 or more inaccurate wage statements within the one-year period, you could collect the maximum penalty of $4,000.
The Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA)
PAGA is a law that allows a current or former employee to represent other current and former employees whose rights under California’s Labor Code have been violated by their employer. In effect, PAGA deputizes an employee to become a “private attorney general.” In that role, the employee represents both the State of California and all other “aggrieved employees.”
PAGA allows the lead aggrieved employee, or plaintiff, to seek civil penalties for the employer’s violations of the Labor Code. Those civil penalties are awarded in addition to the unpaid wages and statutory penalties available to current and former employees under the Labor Code. In the LDI Trucking case, the lead plaintiffs will seek civil penalties for alleged violations of Labor Code Sections 201, 202, 203, 204, 226(a), 226.2, 226.7, 512(a), 1174(d), 1182.12, 1194, 1197 and 1198. Any civil penalties recovered will be divided between the State of California and the aggrieved employees.
For more information about the class action lawsuit against LDI Trucking and Lexmar, or for questions about other trucking companies, call (213) 863-4276 to speak to an experienced California employment attorney today.
Custis Law, P.C. is an employment law firm with law offices located in Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Bernardino County. The firm represents employees on a contingency basis for violations involving unpaid wages, meal and rest break violations, discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other types of unlawful workplace conduct.