When an employee works, that employee should get paid. It is a simple rule for employment law, but one that major employers seem to forget far too often.
In the trucking industry, it is particularly easy for employers to fudge the lines regarding when their drivers are officially working and when they are not. The primary job of truck drivers, of course, is to drive, but truckers have many other duties that do not directly involve driving, and that is where many employers try to find excuses to not pay their drivers.
According to Associated Press online, a group of hundreds of truck drivers recently won more than $54 million in a lawsuit against Wal-Mart. The claim was that Wal-Mart did not pay them for the time they spent inspecting their trucks, cleaning their trucks, and layovers when they had to stay with their trucks.
Attorneys for the truck drivers claim that the total amount owed by Wal-Mart could reach to $150 million or more when additional damages and penalties are included in the final award.
This is a significant victory for employees seeking just wages for their work.
Further Legal Action
Of course, the case is not over, as the attorneys for Wal-Mart said they are likely to file motions and perhaps appeal some of the jury's conclusions. They claim they pay their drivers above and beyond what California law requires, and their drivers are among the highest paid in the industry.
A Clear Message Sent
Even if Wal-Mart appeals, the plaintiffs victory sends a clear message that employees deserve to be paid for all the work they do. When major corporations like Wal-Mart fail to pay their employees, the law will step and make sure justice is obtained.