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Law Alert: Federal court holds that Washington wage and hour laws do not apply to Washington resident over-the-road truck driver.

by Kelli M. Block, James A. Eckhart, E. Ashley Paynter, Adam C. Smedstad

June 3, 2022

A former employee over-the-road truck driver for a national motor carrier sued in Washington federal court seeking to represent a class of Washington-resident drivers to recover damages under Washington law for unpaid minimum wage, overtime, rest breaks, and derivative claims. Washington is one of a few states that does not exempt interstate over-the-road truck drivers from state overtime laws. 

The motor carrier moved for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff was not a Washington-based employee because his only connections to Washington were his residence and the roughly 8% of the miles that he drove in Washington state. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued an order granting summary judgment, finding that the former driver was not a Washington-based employee.

This is the first decision adjudicating whether residence alone, along with minimal in-state driving work, is sufficient to label an employee a “Washington-based” employee entitled to recover under Washington’s wage and hour laws. Although non-binding, this decision provides important guidance to national carriers who hire Washington-resident over-the-road drivers that record few miles in Washington.

Attorneys from Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary represented the defendant motor carrier. The case is Sanders v. Western Express, 1:20-cv-03137 (E.D. Wash.).

For questions regarding the case and how it stands to impact the future of Class Actions in the transportation industry and beyond, contact Adam SmedstadKelli BlockAshley Paynter, or James Eckhart.



News from Scopelitis is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.