$100 MILLION SETTLEMENT REACHED… Swift Settles Class Action “Misclassification” Suit
Phoenix, Arizona – Swift Transportation has entered into a class action settlement agreement that could cost the company up to $100 million for misclassifying independent contractors.
According to court documents, negotiations to reach a settlement in the 10-year legal battle began heating up in 2017 as Swift and Knight Transportation were completing their historic merger. More than 19,000 drivers may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 each as part of the settlement agreement.
Payouts to eligible drivers will be based on length of employment and could date as far back as 1999. The plaintiff drivers filed the suit in 2009 and argued they were misclassified as contractors when they instead should have been considered company drivers.
Thus, they argued they were owed additional pay and benefits under federal labor law — including earning an average of federal minimum wage for all hours worked.
Drivers eligible for the class include those who entered into an independent contractor agreement with Swift prior to Jan. 1, 2019, and who also had a lease agreement with Interstate Equipment Leasing which is a Swift subsidiary.
Adding to Swift’s willingness to come to an agreement was the recent Supreme Court decision in Oliveira vs. New Prime in which the court ruled carriers cannot force interstate transportation workers, including independent contractors, into arbitration over legal disputes.
This ruling effectively ended Swift’s defense because the company had argued the plaintiff’s claims should be sent to individual arbitration proceedings as per the agreements they had signed.
Just this month the company announced it was ending its independent contractor program in California due to increasingly difficult state regulations.