Company drivers are the backbone of any trucking company. However, many drivers don’t know their rights as a driver and may not be aware of all the protections they have under federal law. In this article, we’ll cover some areas that you should always be aware of when driving for a trucking company.
1. Minimum wage
Truck drivers are considered non-exempt employees, which means they are entitled to minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If your trucking company is not paying you at least this amount, you may be able to file a claim with the Department of Labor. Have a truck labor lawyer review your situation and fight for your right to a fair wage.
2. Overtime pay
Drivers are also entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. The overtime rate is 1.5 times the regular hourly wage. So, if you work 50 hours in a week, you would be owed $10.38 per hour (50 x 1.5 = 75, 75 ÷ 40 = $1.88 x 2 = $10.38). If your trucking company is not paying you overtime, you may be able to file a claim.
3. Workers’ compensation
If you are injured while driving for a trucking company, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can help you pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. If you are injured, be sure to report the accident to your trucking company and ask about their workers’ compensation policy.
4. Safety regulations
Truck drivers are subject to a number of safety regulations, including hours-of-service rules, drug and alcohol testing requirements, and federal transportation regulations. Know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency that regulates the trucking industry and enforces safety regulations. If your trucking company is not following these safety regulations, you may be able to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
5. Employment status
Many drivers are misclassified as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees. This can lead to a number of problems, such as not being able to receive benefits like overtime pay and workers’ compensation. If you feel like you have been misclassified, consult with a lawyer to determine your best course of action.
6. Employment rights
As a company driver, you are protected by a number of federal employment laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. If your trucking company is violating any of these laws, you may be able to file a complaint.
7. Breach of contract
If you have a contract with your trucking company and they breach that contract, you may be able to sue them for damages. Breach of contract claims can be complex. It can involve a number of issues, such as not being paid what you’re owed, not being given the proper equipment, or not being dispatched in a timely manner, so it is important to speak with a lawyer to determine if you have a case.
8. Class-action lawsuits
Many truck drivers find themselves in a situation where they are fighting for their rights against a large trucking company. In these cases, it may make sense to join forces with other drivers and file a class-action lawsuit. A class-action lawsuit allows a group of people to bring a claim against a company as a single entity. This can be an effective way to level the playing field against a large trucking company.
9. Trucking company bankruptcy
If your trucking company files for bankruptcy, you may be able to file a claim against them. Bankruptcy can be a complicated process involving many different types of claims. Speak with a lawyer to see if you have a claim against a bankrupt trucking company.
10. Criminal charges
Truck drivers can also face criminal charges for violating traffic laws or other criminal offenses. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you navigate the criminal justice system.
This is just a brief overview of some of the rights that company drivers have. Driving for a trucking company can be a great way to make a living. However, it’s important to know your rights as a driver and understand what protections you have under federal law. These rights are designed to protect you from unfair treatment by your trucking company. If you feel like your rights have been violated, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can help you protect your interests.