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GlobalTranz workers had job classification changed, now want overtime pay

2 employees who went from hourly pay to salaried file suit in federal court over compensation levels

Photo: Shutterstock

While most lawsuits in the trucking sector about overtime and minimum wage tend to focus on the number of hours drivers work, and whether they are entitled to at least the federal minimum wage if their rate per mile doesn’t cover that target, logistics firm GlobalTranz is facing a different kind of lawsuit over that issue.

Two employees who worked in the company’s logistics operations have filed suit in Arizona federal District Court seeking a class action against the 3PL, arguing that they were converted to exempt employees in April 2019. When that happened, and they were no longer paid by the hour, the number of hours they worked stayed at the same rate or increased while their pay was set as a salary. They allege in the lawsuit filed Monday that at that point, they were working more than 40 hours per week and not getting paid for it. 

The suit was brought by two employees, Samantha Thaler and Juliana Daklin. They are seeking class certification. Among the job titles they are seeking that certification for are logistics representatives, inside sales, carries sales representatives, account coordinators, LTL representatives or what the plaintiffs’ lawsuit said are “similar job titles.”

“Plaintiffs and those similarly situated routinely worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but were not paid an overtime premium for their overtime hours,” the lawsuit says.

Although GlobalTranz is located in Phoenix, which is why the lawsuit is in federal court in Arizona, the two plaintiffs both worked out of Minnesota. Both plaintiffs had the position of logistics representative.

The plaintiffs’ primary job duty was work that was considered non-exempt, consisting of “coordinating and scheduling pickup and/or delivery appointments for assigned customers, and tracking and tracing shipments across various modes of transit,” the suit said. 

But in April 2019, according to the lawsuit, GlobalTranz changed their jobs and those “similarly situated” to salaried employees exempt from minimum wage laws. Before that, their pay was an hourly rate with overtime paid if they exceeded 40 hours per week. 

The lawsuit says GlobalTranz had a “legal obligation” to track the hours that the two defendants worked, even though they were no longer getting paid by the hour. When they were deemed “on-call,” according to the lawsuit, they were “required to respond to phone calls and emails 24 hours/day, resulting in additional unpaid overtime hours.”

The suit said Daklin regularly worked 45 to 50 hours per week. She cited one week in particular when she worked “approximately” 48 hours. Thaler made the same claim about the number of hours she worked.

“GlobalTranz assigned plaintiffs a heavy workload and required them and the similarly situated individuals to work long hours, including overtime hours, to complete all of their job responsibilities,” the suit said.

The suit also said GlobalTranz was aware of the hours worked, because “plaintiffs and others complained about their long hours and the workload.” Those concerns were “generally dismissed by [GlobalTranz],” the suit said.

“Defendant’s actions, policies, and practices described above violate the FLSA’s overtime requirement by regularly and repeatedly failing to compensate Plaintiffs and the other similarly situated individuals their required overtime compensation,” the suit said.

In an email to FreightWaves, the plaintiffs’ attorney, Rachhana Srey of the firm of Nichols Kaster, said the case was “interesting and rare” because according to Srey, GlobalTranz “apparently had its logistic reps classified as exempt for a period of time, reclassified to non-exempt for a period of time, and then ultimately reverted back to its exemption classification.”

This occurred, she said, even though “nothing material has changed with respect to the workers’ primary job duties.”

“Based on our understanding of the primary duties, we believe that they should have been overtime eligible all along,” Srey wrote. 

According to the suit, this is not the first such action against GlobalTranz. Srey said the two others settled out of court.

Emails to GlobalTranz for comment had not been returned by publication time. 

While classification suits for drivers often focus on minimum wage pay, that is not raised in this litigation. Minimum wage for drivers being paid a rate per mile comes into issue when the compensation rate per mile transaction fails to cover the amount of money that minimum wage — if it were available — would provide. That is not the case here, though the classification issues raised in the suit do have echoes of those minimum wage battles.

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  1. Matt

    Someone please explain the logic behind the decision to exempt employees from overtime because of the fact that they are drivers, loaders, or anyone else that may have a direct or indirect affect on the safety of said commercial vehicles. It’s asinine. That decision has all the hallmarks of lobbying. Why should drivers and loaders compensation be treated differently than other hourly employee groups, to the point that drivers are not even entitled to the federal minimum wage? Should we accept that “ it is what it is” as the previous comments suggest? I suppose that’s what people said 120 years ago, before child labor, and a host of other pro-worker laws were passed.
    There are plenty of trades (union and non-union) that are working well north of 40 hours per week because that’s what the job demands , and they are compensated appropriately. Only truckers have been brainwashed to think they don’t deserve the same. Change the law now.

    1. Wells

      I totally agree with Matt. It’s sad when you see companies like Old Dominion freight showing how great they are doing while not paying OT to drivers after 40 But pay after 60. While there CEO get millions and the bread butter of the companies get shafted.

  2. John

    As a driver in the trucking industry for almost 20 years now, I’d rather deal with salary or just straight hourly pay because all of these smaller mom and pops and Unionized companies that supposedly pay the overtime? You’ll never work more than 40 hours again. Or if they do actually pay the overtime because it’s a unionized company there’s all of the seniority crap that goes on and cherry picking of routes and lanes., Unless you’ve worked for the company for 30 years or something, you’ll never work more than 40 hours because there’s always 50 or more other people that have been there longer than you have that are entitled to it. Any company in this industry that advertises overtime, I view at as a recruiting lie/scam right up there with the supposed sign on bonusses because very few drivers ever get the overtime or the sign on bonuses. The sun, moon and stars would have to align for it. If they do pay it, you even run the risk of working less than 30 hours in a lot of these cases because in this industry, you can hit 40 hours on your third day. So once you’re at 26, maybe 27 hours two days into your work week, maybe two 13 hour days or something, they won’t schedule you anymore. Go ahead and fight for that overtime. You’ll just end up unemployed. They’re not going to pay it. They’re not required by law and people constantly file these law suits against these companies and they get dismissed every single time thanks to the motor carrier act of 1935. This has been going on for almost 100 years now. It is what it is. Take the straight hourly or straight pay. Better than nothing. Or leave the trucking and logistics industry if you want overtime. However, other industries that are required to pay overtime won’t work you more than 40 hours either.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.