LOS ANGELES: January 11, 2016. A class action lawsuit has been filed against three trucking companies now owned by XPO Logistics.
According to the law firm Kabateck Brown Kellner (KBK), lead plaintiff Horacio Lopez is suing PDS Transportation, Intermodel Container Services, (dba Harbor Rail Transport) and Pacer Cartage, claiming the companies failed to pay wages, provide meal and rest breaks to its employee drivers, “and other labor code violations and unfair business practices”.
In a response to a Wall Street Journal query XPO chief operating officer Troy Cooper said: “We believe this case is without merit and plan to litigate it vigorously. We are in constant dialogue with our independent-contractor carriers and believe the vast majority of them value the significant benefits that operating independently can bring.”
Last week XPO announced the winners of its 2015 Driver of the Year competition for both company and independent contractor drivers. Hank Bartos, president of XPO’s truckload business noted: “It takes an exceptional level of skill and a strong commitment to safety to succeed as a professional driver. We are fortunate to have these seven outstanding drivers on our team, supporting our customers. They set a high bar for excellence and have certainly earned this recognition.”
KBK said it had filed more than a dozen class action lawsuits over the past year claiming thousands of port truck drivers were improperly classified as independent contractors rather than employees.
“This is one of the most pressing labor issues that directly impacts business at two of the nation’s busiest ports, Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach,” declared KBK managing partner Brian Kabateck. “These lawsuits are the only way to expose the unfair labor practices that run rampant throughout the trucking industry,” he added.
KBK is citing a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that independent contractors deserve the same pay and protections as employees, under California law, because they [have] signed independent contractor agreements and are doing the same work and are under the same control of the company as employees.
Prior to the stock reaching a 52-week low, hedge fund Janus Capital Management recently acquired 28,219 shares in XPO for approximately US$672,000.