Knight Transportation has agreed to pay $400,000 to a class of 5,500 truck drivers with a deal that will end a suit in California federal court. The lawsuit claimed the company failed to provide workers with meal and rest breaks.
The drivers in the class urged the court to approve the settlement in an unopposed motion. The drivers argued that the deal would grant them immediate monetary relief and avoid the risk of the court finding their meal and rest period claims preempted by California state laws in light of a decision the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued in December of 2018.
In that previous decision, the FMCSA found that California’s meal and rest break rules are preempted when applied to drivers who operate vehicles covered by the admiration’s hours of service regulations.
“Plaintiff’s success in securing this settlement ensured that this class of drivers will obtain some sort of recovery in the face of considerable uncertainty, and the real risk of obtaining nothing,” the drivers said.
The settlement resolves claims from former Knight truck driver Robert Martinez made in September 2016 in Tulare County Superior Court, claiming that the company did not provide its drivers with duty-free meal breaks and failed to pay separately for work-related activities such as fueling, cleaning and inspections.
Martinez claimed that he regularly drove 10 to 14 hours a day without receiving meal and rest breaks as required by California law. He also alleged Knight Transportation failed to pay its workers all wages it owed them when they stopped working for the company, failed to provide them with complete and accurate wage statements, and engaged in unfair, unlawful and fraudulent business practices.