As if traffic in California was not bad enough by itself, employers in the trucking industry have one more thing to worry about – whether they are complying with California’s meal and rest break laws. In Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC, the plaintiffs represent a class of delivery drivers and installers. Defendants had hoped to avoid the claim that they had violated California’s meal and rest break laws by arguing that as “motor carriers” the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”) preempts California’s meal and rest break laws. The trial court agreed and granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. However, 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.
Defendants argued, among other things, that the requirement that drivers pull over and stop for each break period necessarily dictates that they alter their routes and that finding routes that allow drivers to comply with California’s meal and rest break laws will limit motor carriers to a smaller set of possible routes. However, the Ninth Circuit was not persuaded. Thus, motor carriers doing business in California which have relied on the FAAAA preemption, should carefully review their meal and rest break policies and practices to ensure that they comply with California law.