Former truck drivers for a moving company that closed up shop in 2017, Graebel Van Lines, Inc., are set to receive $2.7 million to resolve an unpaid wages lawsuit. Graebel, at the time, was in the business of providing local, intrastate, and interstate moving, storage, and relocation services for professionals throughout the United States. The moving truck drivers for the company alleged that Graebel misclassified them as independent contractors denying them the appropriate overtime pay when working over 40 hours per week. Additionally, the truck drivers claimed that Graebel stopped paying them altogether 6 months before they closed down promising them payment would eventually come.
According to the complaint, even though Graebel classified and paid these as truck drivers as independent contractors, Graebel controlled the method and manner in which the drivers performed their duties. Specifically, Graebel had a substantial financial investment in the drivers’ expenses, and controlled the opportunity for profit and loss by acting as gatekeeper for getting work assignments. Additionally, the drivers’ duties involved largely unskilled labor, and their relationship with Graebel was intended to be permanent. In fact, the vast majority of the drivers drove for Graebel full time and did not drive for other carriers. The Drivers were not paid a wage as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Nor were they paid overtime, even though they regularly worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.
Companies will often misclassify their workers as independent contractors as opposed to employees in order to cut costs and avoid paying things like overtime and benefits. If you find yourself in what seems like more of an employer to employee relationship where they company has significant authority of your day to day activities, you may be entitled to recover owed wages. Call Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP for a free phone consultation at (212) 300-0375 to see what benefits you may be eligible to recover. You can also view additional information on our website here.