Commercial Driver Overtime Violations
Commercial driver overtime violations in Ohio occur more frequently than you may think. Because the rules and regulations regarding overtime pay for truck drivers and other commercial motorists can be extremely complex, employers fail to pay these individuals properly on occasion.
If you believe you should have received overtime pay as a commercial driver, you should speak with the attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter. We could explain why overtime violations happen to commercial drivers in Ohio and your options moving forward. To schedule your case consultation, call today.
Federal Laws Regarding Overtime Pay
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs most hourly wages but exempts some professions from overtime pay protections. The Federal Motor Carrier Exemption applies to many truck drivers, but employers must prove the following elements to claim the overtime exemption for a commercial driver:
Other Factors Affecting a Truck Driver’s Right to Overtime
Commercial drivers who qualify for overtime pay should record the amount of time they spend performing non-job-related tasks, such as standing by as cargo is being loaded or unloaded, inspecting cargo, or completing paperwork.
Drivers paid by the hour may accrue break time toward weekly hours. Ohio does not require employers to offer breaks to employees but break times equaling 20 minutes or less must be paid time if they do. If breaks are 30 minutes, such as for lunch, employers do not have to pay employees unless they ask them to work during that period.
Avoiding Overtime by Misclassifying an Employee
Commercial drivers who operate smaller vehicles and do not cross state lines could be eligible for overtime pay. Even drivers who are exempt from time-and-a-half overtime pay when operating a large truck for a transport company could be eligible for overtime if they drive smaller vehicles for some weeks. However, employers sometimes misclassify these drivers as independent contractors, which are not covered by the FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage protections.
While misclassifying employees saves employers money because they avoid paying overtime, doing so is a violation of a commercial driver’s overtime rights and could create civil liability. Truck drivers who have been shorted or denied overtime pay after being misclassified should contact legal assistance as soon as possible to discuss filing a claim for compensation.
What Does it Mean to be Paid Straight Time?
An employer can pay straight time for overtime if the employee is exempt. An employee may be exempt if they supervise two or more full-time employees or have a high-level decision-making position. Straight time means that the employee is exempt from state and federal overtime laws. If they are an hourly supervisor, this person should be paid overtime and time and a half. A wage and hour attorney understands theses exemptions and could determine if a commercial driver overtime violation occurred.
Getting Paid Half-Time for Overtime
An employer can pay employees half-time for overtime if the employees are exempt. Anyone else should be paid time and a half except those with a fluctuating workweek. There are rare circumstances where an employer can establish a system wherein employee pay rates build in an excess amount if an employee must work 50 or 60 hours. However, if those employees in Ohio suspect that they are not receiving overtime payment properly, they should call a lawyer.
Overtime Pay for Commercial Loaders and Support Staff
To be eligible for overtime pay, employees who drive, load, or help on a small truck should be nonexempt, and either the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating should be under 10,000 pounds or should not travel over state lines. Those employees, including drivers, helpers, and loaders, should be entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40, which is time and a half of their regular rate of pay.
Under state law, all of these positions could affect the safety of vehicles in interstate transportation. However, an employee, such as a mechanic, a loader, or driver, can be exempt under the Motor Carrier Safety Act if they are involved in interstate commerce, meaning that they travel over state lines, and their vehicle is over 10,000 pounds.