The Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision Sept 5 saying that trucking companies aren’t obligated to cover drivers for nonpiece speed, actions. In the case of Sampson v. Knight Transportation, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the Washington smallest wage law requires companies to pay for time spent on nonpiece rate actions, which the plaintiffs had contended were any nondriving actions.

The Washington State Supreme Court has decided that, look, it does not matter what you are doing so long as the cover you get for the hours that you work is equal to at least the Washington smallest wage, stated Adam Smedstad, a partner with the transport law company, Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary.

That clinic is known as salary averages. What the court stated, clarified Smedstad, is if an employer pays $50 based on a mileage bit rate, the employer is entitled to credit that $50 to all work the worker completed, whether it was driving or not driving. You take the total number of salary for the workweek divided by the total number of hours, and when the resulting amount is at least the minimum wage then you’ve complied with Washington law. Plaintiff Valerie Sampson has filed a lawsuit asserting Knight Transportation engaged in wage and hour violations, including failing to pay drivers for all their work, failing to cover drivers to get their rest breaks and producing unlawful deductions to the salary.

Lawyers for the prosecution couldn’t be reached for comment. In its judgment, the court distinguished the case from Carranza v. Dovex Fruit Co., wherein the court ruled that agricultural employers couldn’t wage average. The agriculture sector in Washington is excluded from some of the cover regulations that govern other businesses, Smedstad explained. The Sampson decision also drew a distinction between Washington state and California, where a statute requires companies to cover actions for the time spent in activities unrelated to the piece.

Smedstad stated there was concern on the part of an industry that the courtroom will follow California’s lead in the wage and hour stadium as it did when it made dinner and rest break penalties. Even though Washington State has meal and rest break requirements very comparable to California, the statute doesn’t provide for a remedy for missed or not provided rest breaks. The Washington State Supreme Court responded by fashioning a cure for meal breaks, thus there was some concern was going to go to California route, Smedstad explained.