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Western Express Wage Statements and Rest Breaks California Class Action

Western Express Truck in Dry Western Landscape

This class action alleges that Western Express, Inc. has violated various provisions of the California Labor Code and IWC Wage Orders. According to the complaint, the company did not keep accurate records, did not give employees accurate itemized wage statements, and did not allow them to take paid rest breaks.

Western Express is a Tennessee company that offers transportation and truck driving services. Plaintiff Stephen Benavides began working for Western in December 2018 as a non-exempt driver.

The complaint says the wage statements were inaccurate in a number of ways: First, they did not identify the days included in the pay period. Secondly, they did not outline the total hours of rest and recovery periods, the rate of compensation, and the gross wages paid for those periods. Third, they did not break down the pay period into specific rates of pay and the number of hours worked at each. Fourth, they did not state the total number of hours worked. 

California’s labor laws require that all of these items be included on wage statements.

The complaint also alleges that drivers did not get proper rest periods. California law requires that employers pay their workers for a ten-minute off-duty rest period for every three and a half hours worked. Benavides was a paid piece rates for his work, but the complaint alleges that he and other drivers and other non-exempt employees should also have been paid for their rest periods. 

If a company does not provide such rest periods, labor laws say it must pay a premium. The complaint thus alleges that Western owes an additional hour of pay for every “non-compliant” rest period. 

In addition, the complaint alleges that Western violated California’s Business & Professions Code through its violations of the labor laws: “[Western’s] utilization of such unfair and unlawful business practices constitutes unfair, unlawful competition and provides an unfair advantage over [Western’s] competitors.”

The complaint asks for damages and/or penalties, civil penalties, restitution, and attorneys’ fees and costs. 

Two classes have been defined for this action

  • The Wage Statement Class is all current and former California driver employees to whom Western Express gave wage statements at any time between July 19, 2018 through the present.
  • The Rest Break Class is all current and former California non-exempt driver employees who worked shifts of three and a half hours or more at any time from July 19, 2015 through the present.
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