A federal judge ended a seven year legal battle between Swift Transportation and a group of drivers, finding that those drivers were misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees.
Arizona judge John Sedwick found that Swift owner-operators who leased their trucks “as a practical matter, had to drive for Swift.” Because Swift was essentially in charge in terms of the relationship it had with its owner-operator drivers, Sedwick found that the drivers should be classified as employees.
An attorney representing the truck drivers said that the contract worker model is unfair because it allows trucking companies to shift the risk involved in their operations onto their drivers.
This particular suit only involves five truck drivers, but it could mean that thousands of truckers who have leased trucks from Swift over the last several years could be eligible for million of dollars worth of backpay.
Swift could choose to accept the court’s ruling and settle with the drivers or it could appeal.
The Wall Street Journal