FORTY CHAUFFEURS, including current and former drivers of the Mears Transportation company in Orlando, Florida, are seeking $50 million in lost wages, overtime and other expenses.
The legal action states that Mears gave the drivers employee handbooks and business cards with the company logo and required them to drive fully insured and fuelled company vehicles and wear employee uniforms with Mears logo name tags.
Attorney Thomas Bundy, acting on behalf of the drivers, said:
There is no credible basis for classifying the luxury chauffeurs as independent contractors, given the amount of control exerted over them on a daily basis. Mears cannot credibly distinguish its contractor chauffeurs from its employee chauffeurs, who perform virtually the same job for the same company in the same location.
Sarasote lawyer Sara Blackwell handles class-action employment cases and said many employers classify workers as self-employed. She added: “When employers are classifying someone as an independent contractor, they need to be very careful.”
A spokesman for Mears, the largest and one of the oldest transport companies in Orlando – founded in 1939 when Walt Disney World opened – declined to comment on the threat of legal action.