A $1.75 million settlement agreement was approved by a federal judge to satisfy claims that CEVA Logistics U.S. Inc. violated California wage and hour laws.
The delivery driver wage and hour lawsuit alleged that CEVA failed to pay drivers for the hours they worked as well as overtime pay. Additionally, the plaintiff alleges the company refused to reimburse drivers for business expenses.
The wage and hour class action lawsuit was filed in August of 2016. In the lawsuit, a CEVA delivery driver alleged that CEVA had misclassified drivers as independent contractors under California law. CEVA delivery drivers deliver and install appliances. The plaintiff accused them of failing to provide itemized wage statements in addition to cheating them out of wages.
Under the terms of the settlement, CEVA will pay each delivery drivers in the class $15,855 in back wages and business expenses. Additionally, the attorney for the delivery drivers will receive fees and expenses and the plaintiff will receive a $7,500 incentive payment.
The US District Court Judge Marilyn L. Huff noted, “This settlement is outstanding when compared with other wage and hour settlements approved in recent years by federal courts sitting in California. This settlement is a good result for the class and eliminates the risks, expenses, and delay associated with continued litigation.”
Judge Huff also noted that approximately 65 individuals make up the proposed class, including individuals who made deliveries for CEVA and were classified as an independent contractor from Aug. 2012 and Feb. 2017.
Similar employee misclassification settlements have been reached in recent years, including a $9 million settlement paid by Postmates, Inc. to settle a similar delivery driver wage and hour lawsuit. Additionally, other misclassified workers have received a $27 million settlement paid by Lyft, a $7.75 million settlement by Uber, and a 4.6 million settlement by Instacart. Current wage and hour lawsuits have focused on employee misclassification as more online based businesses try to utilize independent contractors.
The Delivery Driver Wage and Hour Lawsuit is Cifuentes v. CEVA Logistics U.S. Inc., Case No. 3:16-cv-01957, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Independent Contractor Rights
Many companies are starting to classify workers as “independent contractors.” Independent contractors do not have the same rights and benefits as workers classified as “employees” under state and federal law, but the classification can provide additional flexibility for the company and the worker. However, some companies are misclassifying workers as independent contractors when they actually qualify as “employees” under the law.
Under federal law, employees are entitled to additional pay if they are required to work over 40 hours a week; however, independent contractors are not subject to the same rules and some business and organizations fail to appropriately compensate their workers.
It can be intimidating for an independent contractor to take on a company that provides work but is wrongfully withholding wages or benefits. Employment law is complex and varies between states and a legal professional can help workers navigate the legal system.
If you believe you were misclassified as an independent contractor, or that you suffered another employment rights violation, the attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher want to hear from you. Fill out the form on this page for a free case evaluation.