As a chauffeur driver, you know how hard you work and how many hours you put in – all to earn a fair day’s pay for an honest day’s work. However, have you ever wondered exactly what it means to receive a fair day’s pay? It’s time you know the law, so you can ensure that your employer is paying all the money you’re entitled to under federal law. We have represented numerous chauffeurs and in doing so, we have created a list of common violations that we believe are common in the chauffeur industry.
- Failure to Pay all Tips. Federal law requires employers to allow chauffeurs to retain all tips or gratuities paid by customers. The federal law known as the FLSA mandates that all tips must be paid to chauffeurs and not retained by the employer. This remains true even if you are paid more than minimum wage.
- Illegally Deducting from Wages. Chauffeur companies are notorious for making illegal deductions from their chauffeurs wages for things such as: car accidents, cellular data overages, uniforms (including suits), over deducting for health insurance, and many other wage deductions. Don’t be fooled into thinking that if your employer gets you to sign an agreement, authorizing the deduction that someone it is now legal. If you are working for a chauffeur company who is making questionable deductions from your paycheck, you should reach out to our employment lawyers.
- Making Employees Pay for Business Expenses. In addition to the above wage deductions, chauffeur companies commonly illegally make their chauffeurs pay for items or equipment that the chauffeur uses to perform his or her job. The items we have personally seen employers illegally making their chauffeurs pay for are: iPads, cellular data plans, uniforms (including suits), and any other item that you use to perform your job as a chauffeur. These items are considered a “cost of doing business” and may not be passed along to the chauffeur.
- Independent Contractor Misclassification. If your employer treats you like an employee, but has classified you as an independent contractor, you may be entitled to additional wages even if you signed a Form-1099. Whether an employee is in fact an employee and not an independent contractor is a question that can only be deciphered with legal consultation.
- Failure to Pay Minimum Wage. Chauffeurs are generally entitled to be paid at least minimum wage for every hour worked. This includes hours spent waiting to pick up a customer or waiting for a flight to arrive or any other time that you are engaged to be waiting. If you are being paid tips, your employer may pay you a subminimum wage. However, if your employer is paying you less than minimum wage, then you are entitled to the additional protections as a tipped employee.
- Failure to Pay Overtime. Whether you are paid by the trip, a salary, day rate, or even hourly, most chauffeurs are entitled to receive overtime pay after working 40 hours. However, chauffeur companies commonly attempt to avoid paying overtime by paying chauffeurs a flat rate or trip rate. Just because your employer does not pay you by the hour does not mean you are not entitled to receive overtime compensation.
- Failure to Pay the Correct Overtime Rate. If your employer pays you a bonus or incentive pay, Common Violationsthen you may be entitled to additional compensation for your overtime hours. Performance bonuses and incentive pay must be included in the regular rate for purposes of calculating the overtime rate. Most employers, not just chauffeur companies, fail to pay the correct overtime rate when an employee receives bonuses.