Tuesday, February 27, 2018

XPO Logistics faces novel “repeat offender” class action law suit seeking to end systemic wage theft at US ports

Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA – On Monday morning, Feb. 26, 2018, attorneys Julie Gutman Dickinson and C. Joe Sayas, Jr.,filed a new class action lawsuit on behalf of Angel Omar Alvarez, Alberto Rivera and Fenando Ramirez, seeking to represent at least 160 XPO Logistics Cartage, LLC dba XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO) port and rail drivers from Southern California. This , fi new class action lawsuit became necessary due to the company’s refusal to stop misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors in spite of consistent rulings by federal and state government agencies and courts that XPO is violating labor laws.
Regardless of whether XPO drivers lease a truck through  XPO’s “sweetheart” deal with Bush Leasing or another entity, or whether drivers already own their own truck (commonly referred to as “owner operators”), drivers are still treated as employees by the company because of the level of control that XPO exercises over the drivers. Drivers depend on XPO to provide work and must follow all of the company’s rules. In the end, XPO’s employment arrangement is designed to minimize its costs while maximizing its profits at the expense of its drivers.
“On behalf of exploited XPO Logistics drivers, we are seeking a permanent injunction to stop XPO Logistics from continued misclassification of its drivers.” Julie Gutman Dickinson said, “By continuing to flaunt labor law, XPO is a ‘recidivist’ violator that must be stopped.” 
“This class action lawsuit breaks new ground because it will not only help drivers who are being deprived of their employment rights and wages, but the business community by leveling the field for companies that abide by labor laws,” Joe Sayas, Jr.
“I have worked for XPO for more than 8 years and come from El Salvador,” said Angel Omar Alvarez, an XPO port and rail driver at its Commerce location. “I’m participating in this case because I am tired of XPO misclassifying us drivers as well as the company taking away our rights as employees and our wages. I don’t have any benefits and the company takes a lot of money out of my paycheck to pay for company expenses like insurance and diesel fuel. We even pay taxes on the money that the company takes out of our checks to pay for their expenses. I was part of one of the previous class action lawsuits, but I didn’t know I was part of it until I received a check. But the lawsuit didn’t fix anything at XPO. The company continues to take our money and misclassify us. Nothing changed with that settlement. We are filing this lawsuit because we want to stop misclassification.” 
“Even though I’m scared that I might lose my job, I’m tired of XPO misclassifying us. We are suffering because XPO is taking our money to pay for its own expenses,” said Alberto Rivera, an XPO port and rail driver at its San Diego location who has driver since 2016. “XPO already makes our life miserable and retaliates against us if we try to refuse a load. We pretty much have to do whatever the company tells us.”
With numerous decisions by federal and state government agencies and courts, XPO has been placed on notice of its labor law violations.
  • California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has issued 16 decisions on behalf of XPO drivers who brought separate wage and hour claims awarding a total of nearly $4 million in back pay and penalties related to misclassification. To date, all of these decisions on appeal have also held that the XPO drivers are employees who have been misclassified as independent contractors.
  • The California Economic Development Department (EDD) has awarded at least five XPO drivers unemployment and disability benefits upon determining they were misclassified as independent contractors.
  • Region 21 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Los Angeles issued complaints against both XPO Port Services, Inc., (d/b/a XPO Logistics) and XPO Cartage after investigations into unfair labor practice charges filed by drivers. In doing so, the Region made a merit determination that the drivers were employees.
Instead of making changes to come into compliance with the law, XPO has continued to misclassify its drivers. 
The consequences for the truck drivers are severe. In addition to not receiving the legal minimum wage and having expenses illegally deducted from their paychecks, drivers have been deprived of their meal and rest breaks under California law. They have also been deprived of other protections such as workers compensation, which is very important because of the dangerous nature of being a truck driver.
C. Joe Sayas  and Julie Gutman Dickinson both have extensive experience and expertise in litigating misclassification and wage theft cases in a variety of forums, including winning permanent injunctive relief for drivers that stopped companies from misclassifying its drivers. (See. e.g. Taylor v Shippers Transport Express, 13-02092 (C.D. Cal. May 14, 2015).)
Background on XPO Logistics (NYSE:XPO)
XPO Logistics Cartage’s parent company – XPO Logistics – is a top ten global logistics company operating in 32 countries, with over 95,000 employees and 1,455 locations, and earning approximately $15 billion dollars per year. CEO and Chairman Bradley Jacobs has announced his intention to fund additional acquisitions of up to $9 billion in the coming months.
Summary of XPO Logistics Regulatory Action and Litigation
XPO Logistics Cartage, LLC dba XPO Logistics, (hereinafter called “XPO Cartage” ) is a Delaware company that maintains California offices and operations in Commerce and San Diego, CA.  XPO Logistics is a publicly traded, global company and one of the world’s ten largest providers of transportation and logistics services.  XPO Cartage primarily moves goods to and from rail yards to customers. There are over 160 misclassified drivers who own or lease trucks and who have worked for XPO Cartage in its Commerce and San Diego locations from April 30, 2016, to the present.

XPO Logistics Cartage is the successor company to XPO Cartage, Inc., which was formerly known as Pacer Cartage. XPO Port Services is also a subsidiary of XPO Logistics. XPO Cartage and XPO Port Services, Inc., d/b/a XPO Logistics, are together among the top trucking companies servicing the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. XPO Port Services specializes in moving goods to and from the ports, while XPO Cartage primarily moves goods to nearby intermodal rail yards. These various XPO entities have faced multiple legal and enforcement agency actions for alleged wage theft due to misclassification of their drivers as independent contractors, as outlined in the attached document

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