Regulations

New York Federal Judge Tosses Out Chauffeur Wage Lawsuit

Posted on September 24, 2014

Page 1 of 2

From Reuters and LCT reports

NEW YORK — A New York federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Sept. 16 brought by chauffeurs for a black car service who claimed they were owed overtime pay, finding that the chauffeurs were ineligible for overtime because they were independent contractors, not employees.

In a case brought under federal and state labor laws, Judge Jesse Furman said the drivers failed to show they were entitled to overtime as employees, partly because the company they worked for had only limited control over them and their schedules.

The chauffeurs could decide for themselves when to provide rides, Furman said in a written opinion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In addition, Furman said in the opinion, the drivers could “take vacations whenever they wished, without notifying defendants in advance, for even months at a time.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Furman said, defines an employee as “any individual employed by an employer.” The judge added that the law “most unhelpfully, defines 'employer' circularly as 'any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee.’”

On whether an individual is an employee under the FLSA, he said, 2nd Circuit courts consider five factors, including the degree of control the employer has over the workers and the permanence or duration of the working relationship.

Eduard Slinin is the CEO of Corporate Transportation Group, one of the largest limousine services in New York, which operates more than 1,300 chauffeured vehicles, mostly Lincoln and Cadillac luxury sedans. He also owns Omni Limousine in Las Vegas, Nev.

“What this case is all about, and all of them, is basically harassment,” Slinin told LCT. “This is hungry trial lawyers playing games. Those types of attorneys go after successful transportation companies and try to figure out a way to extort. Many people don’t have enough money to defend themselves and settle with those guys. In this situation, they were not successful because we challenged them on every aspect. This will help the industry as a whole in the U.S. We are running businesses correctly, which are regulated, and we are doing what we are supposed to.”

Slinin estimated he and his company spent a staggering $1.5 million in legal fees during the last two years to fight this case. Thanks to the decision, he can continue to run his business model based on legal franchisee independent contractors.

The dismissal of the case is a landmark decision in the federal court system regarding independent contractor lawsuits, said Scott Solombrino, the CEO of Dav El/Boston Coach Chauffeured Transportation Network and a longtime board director of the National Limousine Association. Solombrino, who has  been at the forefront of many industry battles regarding labor and wage issues, said the decision could change the way such cases are handled across the country.

“This is a victory for people in the chauffeured car business, to be able to operate under alternative models,” Solombrino told LCT. “I’m happy for Mr. Slinin. He fought this long and hard. It’s about time somebody won this case. I think it will help set some precedent to have a clear understanding on how to operate various vehicle business models.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Classifying Uber's Business Model: A Complicated Affair

Governments have every right to regulate a digital platform that arranges rides and provides work for its citizens.

Industry Leaders Adjust Political Agenda For Trump Era

The NLA is sizing up a post-Nov. 8 legislative and regulatory scene that could yield breakthroughs as well as new unknowns.

Mass. TNC Drivers Face Background Checks Sooner

The state will conduct Criminal Offender Record Information and Sex Offender Registry Information background checks and consult motor vehicles records.

What Will Trump's Transportation Pick Mean For TNCs?

Department of Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao has shown friendliness to the gig economy.

Airports Add Surcharges for Limos, Taxis, And TNCs

Officials at most airports were reluctant to explain why they charged the fees except that doing so helps keep airport costs down.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blogs

See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - December 2016 $12.95 GLOBAL/INTERNATIONAL ISSUE COVER STORY: * The Coolest Operators on the Planet * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close