In a precedential ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling that armored vehicle driver, Ashley McMaster, was entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Court held that the motor carrier exemption, which exempted certain drivers of commercial vehicles from overtime pay laws, did not apply to truck drivers, such as McMaster, who spent all or part of their time operating vehicles under 10,000 pounds. The Court reasoned that the Corrections Act of 2008, which revised the FLSA, applied to the instant case. The Corrections Act states that the motor carrier exemption does not apply to drivers, driver’s helpers, mechanics, and loaders who spend all or part of their workweek operating certain vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds. As such, the Court ruled that since McMaster spent approximately 51 percent of her time driving vehicles more than 10,000 pounds and 49 percent driving vehicles under that weight, she fell within the purview of the Corrections Act and was entitled to overtime pay for work performed in excess of 40 hours per week. Defendant, Eastern Armored Services, Inc., argued that certain district courts have held that subjecting truck drivers to the Motor Carrier Act when they drive vehicles over 10,000 pounds and also to the FLSA when they drive trucks that weigh less “would require burdensome record-keeping, create confusion and give rise to mistakes and disputes.” However, the Court stated that this policy statement cannot overcome the “express change to the statutory scheme.” The case was remanded back to the district court for assessment of wages owed to McMaster.
This decision is significant as there have been conflicting decisions amongst district courts regarding whether overtime pay is required to be paid to commercial drivers who spend part of their time operating a noncommercial vehicle, instead of a commercial vehicle.
The case is Ashley McMaster v. Eastern Armored Services, Inc.