Delivery Drivers Sue For Reimbursement of Expenses

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on January 5, 2018

Delivery VanThis case takes place in Oregon and involves drivers working for a medium-sized grocery delivery service. Employee agreements are drafted exclusively by the defendant company and classify drivers as independent contractors, as opposed to salaried workers. The drivers are paid by stop rate with no overtime pay. They are not provided with any breaks and they pay out of pocket for any driving related expenses. Is is alleged that the defendants have routinely violated employment codes by entrenching themselves in employee misclassification, improperly categorizing their drivers as independent contractors when they are in fact full employees. Also, defendants allegedly failed to reimburse plaintiffs for responsible expenses, making deductions from wages. The plaintiffs believe they want compensation for unpaid wages and are owed for their unpaid overtime.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have extensive experience in mileage reimbursement rates for truck drivers? Please explain.
  • 2. What kind of expenses need to be covered for truck drivers?
  • 3. Are you experienced in calculating driving related expenses (fuel, insurance, licensing, etc)?
  • 4. Are rates set higher for truck drivers than normal vehicles (IRS)?

Expert Witness Response E-008289

There has been a lot of movement in California in regards to who is and who isn’t an independent contractor. By companies using “independant contrators” they sidestep the issue of compliance in a lot of areas. It all boils down to who is the overlying carrier, what authority is the Independant Contractor operating under, what is in the lease agreement between the 2 parties. Because the vehicles/drivers are in California, there are specific regulations in place which aren’t in other states-for example, depending on what type of vehicle being operated they might have to be in the CHP Biennial Terminal of Inspection program (BIT). They have to have a motor carrier property permit and a CA number. I have done work in this area before in civil ligitation as to who is really responsible for compliance as to overlying carrier or a true independant contractor. Mileage reimbursement rates are usually spelled in the contract between 2 parties. 2015 reimbursement rate is 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014. Also in the contract should be speeled out who is responsible for vehicle maintenance as well as who pays for it. Expenses need to be covered, such as insurance, registration, permits, fuel, lubrication, tires, breakdowns, brakes, etc. California also requires several rest periods/lunch brakes during the day per the Labor Code. I have done Mock D.O.T. and CHP BIT audits that determined overlying carrier and responsibility in civil litigation.

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