Practice Area: Employment Law & Unpaid Wages
Case Status: Pending
Court: United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Attention: Any current or former delivery truck drivers for Goya Foods, Inc. who were classified as independent contractors or owner-operators.
Berger Montague is currently representing delivery truck drivers for Goya Foods, Inc. in a class action lawsuit alleging that Goya misclassified the drivers, also known as Owner-Operators, as independent contractors under New Jersey law. A copy of the complaint is available here.
Who is Affected?
Anyone who worked as a delivery truck driver for Goya Foods, Inc. as an independent contractor or owner-operator.
What Are the Allegations?
The plaintiffs in this case worked as delivery drivers for Goya Foods, Inc., and allege that Goya has continuously misclassified them as independent contractors instead of employees, and as a result, made illegal deductions from the delivery drivers’ wages, and failed to pay them overtime compensation at time-and-a-half when the drivers worked over 40 hours in a work week. The plaintiffs also seek reimbursement of all work expenses, unlawful deductions, and unpaid overtime compensation for themselves and the potential class members.
More specifically, in addition to seeking unpaid overtime compensation, Plaintiffs allege that Goya Foods, Inc. unlawfully deducted costs and fees associated with the delivery drivers’ leasing of their trucks, including expenses related to:
- Tractor and trailer leases / rentals
- Trailer rentals and other equipment
The plaintiffs also claim that they had administrative fees, as well as costs for returned and damaged products, deducted from their pay. The lawsuit alleges that these deductions violate New Jersey state law, and that the delivery drivers are entitled to reimbursement for all of these costs that they incurred.
What’s the Status of the Case?
The plaintiffs filed the case in July 2019 in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. On June 23, 2023, following extensive fact discovery, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification requesting that the Court allow all eligible New Jersey Drivers to be part of the same action. The class certification motion is currently awaiting a decision by the Court.
Why Would a Company Misclassify an Employee as an Independent Contractor?
The lawsuit, like many others involving the misclassification of delivery drivers as independent contractors, alleges that Goya Foods, Inc. labeled its delivery drivers as independent contractors in order to pass employment costs to the drivers and increase Goya’s profit by forcing the drivers to pay costs that Goya would have to pay if the drivers were properly classified as employees.
The plaintiffs allege that at all times, Goya Foods, Inc. maintained full direction and control over its delivery drivers but still classified them as independent contractors, deducting business expenses from their commission statements and denying overtime compensation, paid time off, vacation pay, and holiday pay.
The lawsuit also alleges a number of reasons why Goya’s Foods, Inc.’s delivery drivers are not truly independent contractors under the law, including that the drivers are:
- An “integral part” of Goya’s business
- Not performing work outside Goya’s normal course of business
- Directed by Goya regarding delivery stops, shipments, and work schedules
- Given an XRS handheld device by Goya, that tracks location, hours, and mileage
- Not able to use their trucks for other work or customers
- Required to get approval for time off
It is important to note that a number of factors must be considered when classifying a worker as an independent contractor. Just because a worker is called an “independent contractor” by their employer doesn’t mean that is how they should be classified under the law.
Do I Have to Pay to Consult with Berger Montague?
The lawyers in Berger Montague’s Employment and Unpaid Wages Group are available to discuss your potential claims free of charge. If we decide to represent you in a lawsuit, we will enter into a written contingent fee agreement with you. A contingent fee agreement means that Berger Montague only gets paid if we are successful in obtaining a recovery for you.
How Do I Get More Information?
If you have worked as a delivery driver for Goya Foods, Inc. in any state, please contact Berger Montague by completing the form on this page or give us a call.
The lawyers in Berger Montage’s Employment & Unpaid Wages Group work tirelessly to safeguard the rights of employees and devote their time and energy to helping our clients achieve their goals. Our lawyers’ understanding of federal and state wage and hour laws allows them to develop winning strategies to vindicate our clients’ rights, and help them secure the compensation to which they are entitled. Our law firm has a long and successful track record working on behalf of employees.
If you have experienced unpaid wages, unpaid overtime compensation, unreimbursed business expenses, or other wage and hour violations under federal or state laws by your employer, please contact Berger Montague. Our award-winning employment lawyers are available to speak with you free of charge.
About Berger Montague
Berger Montague is a national law firm focusing on complex civil litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States. For over half a century, Berger Montague has played lead roles in consequential, precedent-setting cases and has recovered over $50 billion for its clients and the classes they have represented. Berger Montague is headquartered in Philadelphia and has offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.