Truck drivers awarded $6 million in wage theft suit

A manager may also be held personally responsible for misclassifying drivers in what has been called an “unprecedented decision.”

A group of California port truck drivers were awarded a multi-million dollar settlement as part of an employment misclassification lawsuit.

This week, a group of 24 truck drivers employees by NFI Industries/California Cartage were awarded almost $6 million by the California Labor Commissioner after they were found to have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees, according to a report from the Long Beach Post.

Notably, the California Labor Commissioner also found that general manager at National Freight Industries/California Cartage Jim Degraw is to be held jointly liable for the employment misclassification of the truck drivers.

This move to hold Degraw personally accountable for the misclassification of the drivers who worked under him was called an “unprecedented decision” by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Teamsters say that this is the first time that individual liability provision of 2016’s California Senate Bill 588 has been applied in port trucking.

The California Labor Commission has made recent moves to cut down on wage theft against truck driver employees. Earlier this month, they posted a list of port trucking companies with unpaid wage settlements in an attempt to uphold a new California law that would hold shippers responsible for wage theft committed by trucking companies that they employ.

National Freight Industries/California Cartage is the largest trucking company at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

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