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Independent Classification Isn’t Dead Yet in Trucking
As seen in FleetOwner.
In June of 2017, the USA Today newspaper released “Rigged,” an investigative report highlighting abuses of leased owner-operator drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The sensational news story claimed that the trucking industry is rife with labor violations and that drivers are forced into a life of indentured servitude.
However, the investigative report focused on only a small subset of the industry and failed to disclose that some drivers prefer to be independent contractors and have enjoyed profitable careers as such.
In an effort to address and contain those rare abuses described in the USA Today report, state agencies and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) have launched a misclassification crusade aimed directly at the trucking industry.
State agencies and the federal government alleged that motor carriers and transportation providers are misclassifying employee drivers as independent contractors – depriving them of various rights including overtime pay, unemployment compensation, workers compensation, and health and retirement benefits.
The fact is that many motor carriers, and even some owner operators, remain vested in preserving the independent contractor status of drivers, and, therefore, have been forced to review their contracts and policies to ensure that drivers are given genuine autonomy to run their own individual businesses.
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