An Arkansas truck driver says he was entitled to overtime pay and never received it. Jeff Boyer is suing his former employer La Sher Oil for failure to pay for actual worked hours.
“It didn’t matter if I worked 14 hours or 18 hours, I was told to put 12 hours,” he told KARK. “I was told to fill out the time sheet from six to six. Then, I started thinking about it. Those are Department of Transportation on the hours we’re limited to working and the logs we have to keep. So I decided to start telling the truth on my time sheets.”
When Boyer confronted his employer, he was terminated.
Boyer’s troubles didn’t end there. “I’ve had a hard time finding a job, because that’s my last employer reference,” he told KARK.
“According to Rauls, Boyer’s owed overtime because he doesn’t fall under an exception like Interstate truck drivers or those with professional degrees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. So, if he works more than 40 hours a week he’s owed time and a half,” KARK reported.
“The rules are very clear. The law is very simple. The thing that gets complicated are the exceptions,” Raul said. “But where employers make mistakes is trying to take advantage of the exceptions without understanding the law.”
Both Boyer and Rauls say that La Sher Oil thought it could save money be putting all of its employees on salary as opposed to paying for actual worked hours.
“What appears to have happened here was the employer wanted to save some money, so decided to put all of its drivers on salary,” Rauls said. “Under the Act you have highly educated professionals, management, or those engaged in Interstate commerce that can be salaried employees. But in this case the truckers are delivering things within the state of Arkansas, Central Arkansas, in fact.”
“It appears this employer didn’t investigate whether these drivers qualified to be on salary, there’s really no justification for paying someone like these drivers a salary under the Act,” Rauls added.
Boyer says when he accepted the position with La Sher Oil he signed a 10 hour work day, five day a week, for $900 per week contract.
“Your right to overtime is not something you can sign away,” Rauls said. “It’s not as if you can agree that you’re going to work a 50 hour week instead of a 40 hour week and not get overtime if you don’t fall under the exceptions of the law.”
KARK reported that since July of 2010, the Arkansas State Department of Labor has received 272 similar complaints about overtime work pay.
“You can’t really help but think that this is a huge endemic problem. Really, I think it is,” Rauls said. “It’s something we see a lot, people who work some of the most physical jobs are asked to work many, many hours.”
Rauls said he’s seeking back pay, plus interest for Boyer.
“It’s been hard. I’ve been trying to find a job, without much luck. I’m just trying to stay above water at this point,” Boyer told the station.
KARK reported that another former La Sher Oil employee has joined the lawsuit.
CDL Life will bring you continued coverage of this case.