On July 9, 2014, on an issue of first impression, the Ninth Circuit held that motor carriers are not exempt from California’s meal and rest break laws under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”). As a result, motor carriers with employees in California should make sure their wage and hour policies comply with California law.
In Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC, the plaintiffs represented a class of delivery drivers and installers who claimed that Penske Logistics, LLC violated California’s meal and rest break laws. Defendants argued that as “motor carriers” the FAAAA preempts California’s meal and rest break laws. The trial court agreed and granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. But the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding that California’s meal and rest break laws are not the type of laws related to prices, routes, or services that Congress intended to preempt.
This was a matter of first impression where the majority of trial courts previously determining this issue held in favor of preemption. It remains to be seen what other California wage and hour laws are not preempted under the FAAAA. But it is clear that motor carriers should seek California legal counsel to carefully review and confirm that their policies are compliant with California law.