Truck driver lease operators and/or independent contractors may be afforded certain protections under various state and federal laws. Abuses may crop up in the form of initial entry into a truck driving and/or lease operator program or they may arise in connection with the operation of the business. Some of the issues might be as follows:
Violation of Business Opportunity And/or Franchise Laws
Depending upon how the leasing opportunity is offered and what fees are charged, the leasing opportunity may be subject to various business opportunity and/or franchise laws. These laws require pre-offer disclosure, substantiation of income claims, as well as prohibitions against fraud and/or misleading statements. Robert S Boulter is familiar with such claims and if you have entered into a lease driver opportunity that has not lived up to the promises that were made, please contact our office for a consultation.
Violation of the Employment Laws
Trucking companies often misclassify employees as lease operators and independent contractors in order to avoid complying with employment laws. If you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor you may be entitled to substantial remedies under state and/or federal law including minimum wage, meal and rest breaks, reimbursement for employment expenses, workers compensation coverage, federal and state tax contributions including for Social Security, as well as other potential benefits and remedies. If you think that you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor, please contact our office for a free consultation.
Violation of the Truth-in-Leasing Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Truth-in-Leasing regulation (49 C.F.R. Part 376, Lease and Interchange of Vehicles) addresses leasing requirements and the individual responsibilities of owner-operators and carriers. Truth in Leasing addresses two main areas. The first, deals with the general conditions of a commercial truck lease. In all cases, a written lease detailing the use of the equipment, specific identification of the equipment and the length of time, with start and end dates, that the lease covers must be given to the owner. Additionally, the owner must be given a receipt listing the equipment with the date and time that the lease was activated. A second receipt must be provided to the owner at the end of the lease.
The second area is compensation. The law states that carriers must pay the owner-operator of the leased commercial truck within 15 days after the logbooks required by the Department of Transportation and documentation the carrier needs in order to be paid are submitted. Part 376.12 also discusses what the lease must include in clearly presented language. The lease must state who is responsible, the owner-operator or the carrier, for charges such as “the cost of fuel, fuel taxes, empty mileage, permits of all types, tolls, ferries, detention and accessorial services, base plates and licenses, and any unused portions of such items.”