A class action lawsuit has been filed against a large Korean-owned transportation company in Southern California for labor violations.
This is particularly noteworthy given the recent spate of lawsuits against trucking companies and other transportation businesses.
According to Judge Yvette Palazuelos of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, a class action lawsuit has been filed by Korean-American truck drivers against KW Transportation in Carson.
The lawsuit is pending and involves allegations of wrongful termination, minimum wage violations, profit sharing discrepancies, and more. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Hae Soo Kyung, Jung Kim, Tony Lee, and others, are former truck drivers who worked for KW.
KW Transportation is a subsidiary of KW International, an integrated logistics company with branches in 30 states across the country.
According to the complaint, KW paid the plaintiffs using a piece-rate system that calculated compensation based on the number of miles driven, rather than the number of hours worked.
The complaint alleges that the company’s piece-rate compensation system violated California wage and hour laws by failing to pay the plaintiffs for time spent on certain work tasks, such as conducting pre- and post-trip inspections of their trucks, fueling, and waiting at KW terminals and KW-customer facilities.
The defendants also allegedly failed to provide proper and complete wage statements.
The complaint also addresses the practice of driving in pairs on long hauls. It states that the plaintiffs operated in pairs of two and took turns operating the truck at various intervals.
The complaint argues that because the defendants exerted sufficient control over the plaintiffs even when they were not driving, the time spent riding as a passenger (logged as sleeper-berth time) should have been compensated. However, the defendants did not provide compensation for this time.
The plaintiffs have demanded a jury trial, and the lawsuit has been filed as an “unlimited civil case,” which means there is no limit to the amount of the claim.
This case is the latest in a series of lawsuits against transportation companies. Recently, Global Express Transportation (GET), a company founded by Hyundai Globis, was named in a class action lawsuit but settled the case.
The company had been sued with a PAGA lawsuit, which gives employees the right to prosecute lawsuits against their employers for violations of the California Labor Code. However, the case was settled with a settlement payment to 76 employees.
Kim, a truck driver for a U.S. company in Los Angeles, commented on the situation, saying, “It would depend on your level of experience, but usually in Korean companies, the wages are calculated at 30 to 50 cents per mile, so drivers aren’t happy. There would also be issues with labor violations since the benefits and working environment of Korean companies are not as good as those of U.S. companies.”
In the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Swift Transportation, the nation’s largest trucking company, and XPO Logistics have been sued for labor violations.
C&A Transportation has also faced a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, San Diego Division, which has been settled.
“Logistics has become more important during the pandemic, and the number of truck driver job postings has increased dramatically,” said Jamie Kim, an attorney at LK Professional Law Group.
“In addition, it is important to have a thorough awareness of labor law compliance since the industry is known for issues with mileage-based wages and independent contractor disputes.”
BY YEOL JANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]