A class action lawsuit filed by the milk tank drivers of Ruan trucking company has been settled out of court. The complaint filed by the drivers alleged that Ruan did not allow them uninterruptedlunch or dinner breaks, and was filed in a California court back in 2008. According to those involved in the case, Ruan agreed to settle with the drivers for $10.5 million.
Facts of the Case
According to the lawsuit, Ruan’s milk tank drivers claimed that they were forced to take thirty-minute,unpaid lunch breaks while their trucks were in line at the creamery to unload their tankers. Furthermore, the drivers were required during their lunch and dinner breaks to be in radio contact and near their trucks at all times in case their vehicle needed to be moved in the line of trucks.
Ruan claimed that all of their practices conformed to California law and union contracts. The company claimed that the half hour lunch break was not exclusively the drivers’ time like they believed. The attorney for the company likened it to “hiring a college kid to stand in line for you to buy tickets to a Giants game. After three hours you tell him, ‘Take a half-hour unpaid lunch break but don’t leave the line.’” However, the company did claim that the drivers were allowed to take other off-duty meal breaks at the creameries where they unloaded their tanks as well as at off-site locations.
Reactions from the Parties
A spokesperson for Ruan called the lawsuit “a distraction” and claims that they agreed to settle only to put the situation behind them. “Ruan’s senior leadership and legal team felt strongly that we would successfully defend the claims made by the class given our compliant policies and practices. However, it was time to reach a final resolution on this matter.” The company claimed that it treated the workers well and that they were well-paid for their time.
The drivers are relieved to see this case get settled, and one told the media that he hopes that this case teaches other employers to give their workers the breaks that they deserve. Around 1,145 drivers and former drivers were affected by the claims alleged in the class action lawsuit, and given the settlement total each driver could get up to $5,000 for their participation in the case.
If it had not settled out of court, the case was scheduled to go to trial next month inTulare County Superior Court. The agreement was reached through a mediator, and it must still be approved by a judge before the settlement becomes final.
Contact a California Employment Attorney
If you have questions about employment law regarding your business in Pleasanton, Alameda County, or the Tri-Valley, area let the experienced attorneys atGarcia & Gurney help. Call the office or contact us today for a confidential consultation of your employment law concerns.