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California truck drivers allege employee rights violations

Recently, truck drivers operating out of the Port of Los Angeles have staged a demonstration to bring awareness to employees' rights violations. This strike is just one of many that has occurred in recent months over working conditions. According to the drivers, they face workplace violations on a number of different issues.

First, the truck drivers claim that they are facing pay and benefits issues. According to the drivers, they are wrongly being classified as independent contractors by trucking companies. With this label, the truck companies can pay the drivers less, do not have to honor mandatory work breaks and do not have to pay overtime. The truck drivers claim this all amounts to wage-theft on the part of the truck companies.

This is not the first time such issues have been raised with truck companies in California. In recent years, 500 wage-theft and misclassification suits have been filed with the state against truck companies. As a result of these suits, truck companies have had to pay $3.8 million in penalties and wages to workers.

Second, the truck drivers are saying that they are facing retaliation at work for wanting to unionize. At one particular company, workers say that two people were recently wrongfully terminated after expressing an interest in unionizing.

California truck drivers are not the only employees that face serious issues with their employers. Employee laws protect California workers and give them certain labor rights. While labor relations with employers may not always be positive, workers need to understand the protections they have against their employers and the legal remedies that are available when employers overstep their authority.

Source: Los Angles Times, "Port truck drivers launch strike to protest alleged labor violations," Ricardo Lopez, April 28, 2014

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