Authored By: Ollie Lammers
A case taken on by Public Justice, New Prime v. Oliveira, had a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in favor of their client Dominic Oliveira. The case involves New Prime a trucking company and trucker Dominic Oliveira.
The company required Oliveira to complete 10,000 miles hauling freight for free as an “apprentice.” Oliveira after completing those hours was required to complete 30,000 miles as a “trainee” being paid $4 an hour. After all this training, Oliveira was hired as a contractor not a full-time employee.
Because he was hired as a contractor Oliveira was required to lease a truck, from a company owned by New Prime owners, and buy his own equipment, from the New Prime store. He was also required to pay for his own gas which were often from New Prime gas pumps.
If Oliveira was hired as a full-time employee, New Prime would be the ones paying for all the expenses Oliveira had. The trucking company classified Oliveira as a contractor and deducted the leasing costs, gas, and equipment from his paycheck. This led to him having less and less in his paycheck sometimes even owing New Prime money because of all his expenses.
Oliveira filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and tens of thousands of other “contractors” in 2015. He alleged that New Prime, violated a federal law by purposefully misclassifying him as a contractor to underpay him. Unfortunately, his contract with New Prime declared that all disputes must be resolved through individual arbitration, a process that often favors companies over workers as the process is costly, time-consuming and often unjust.
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