First Student, the largest bus transportation provider for students in the United States with locations in Texas, was recently named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit. Sixty five school bus drivers are participating in the complaint, but this case could impact as many as 12,000 other drivers. The federal lawsuit, filed in a state outside of Texas, accuses the company of shortchanging drivers with regard to their wages. Class action for this case has been requested, but not yet been granted.
According to the complaint, First Student does not use a time card system to track the number of hours worked by the drivers. Instead, the payroll is based upon an estimate that is generated from an equipment inspection system that the bus drivers use at the start and end of their work day. However, there is apparently time that is not accounted for by this system. Allegedly there is no record of the time drivers spend cleaning the bus and reporting to the office at the end of the day as well as time that is spent waiting to receive assignments at the start of their shift. The drivers claim that these are required parts of their job duties, but they are forced to perform them without compensation.
The drivers further allege that they lose out on money when their routes take longer than anticipated. A computer estimates how long the route should take, but if it takes longer than the allotment, according to the the drivers, they are habitually not paid for the additional time. Furthermore, the plaintiffs assert that when they perform extracurricular charter runs, they are not paid for the time that they spend waiting after the end of their normal route to begin the additional trips.
This is not the first time that First Student has been accused of violating labor law. The company has been ordered to pay back wages in the past. First Student is accused of three violations of Illinois labor law and two violations of federal law. It can be easy for Texas workers to lose out on wages due because they are not aware of their rights under the law. Those who feel they are the victims of questionable practices may benefit by seeking the advice and assistance of an employment law attorney.
Source: cookcountyrecord.com, "Bus drivers' federal class action says First Student has shorted them wages, overtime", Dana Herra, Oct. 15, 2015