Swift Transportation faces class-action wage lawsuit

August 15, 2023

Tyson Fisher


A Washington state trucker for Swift Transportation has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, accusing it of violating wage laws.

On Aug. 10, David Carlson filed a class-action lawsuit against Swift Transportation in a Tacoma, Wash., federal district court. The lawsuit claims that the company failed to pay overtime wages for hours worked more than 40 hours per week.

“Specifically, plaintiff asserts defendant by its actions ‘including but not limited to, paying on a per mile or per delivery basis but not paying for overtime, despite plaintiff and class members driving over 40 hours per week, defendant violated Washington overtime law,’” the lawsuit states.

According to the complaint, the putative class worked at least an aggregate 42,000 workweeks from April 21, 2020. Class members were generally paid at least $20 per hour of work on average. The lawsuit goes on to state that “it is reasonable to assume that plaintiff alleges at least 6 hours of overtime per week per putative class member.” Therefore, claims for unpaid overtime wages reach at least $5,040,000 ($20/hr x 0.5 overtime premium rate x 42,000 weeks x 6 overtime hours per week x 2 for alleged liquidated damages under Washington state law). Actual average pay and number of workweeks worked may be higher.

The Swift lawsuit does not specify how drivers accrued more than 40 hours of work each week.

Last year, a federal court in California gave Swift Transportation and a class of nearly 20,000 drivers the green light to proceed with a settlement worth more than $7 million. The settlement put an end to the lawsuit that was filed nearly 13 years ago.

Drivers allege the carrier failed to:

  • Pay them minimum wages or agreed rates for all hours worked.
  • Provide them with duty free meal and rest periods.
  • Reimburse them for all necessary business expenditures and/or losses incurred during the discharge of their duties.
  • Pay them with instruments that were immediately payable in cash, on demand, and without discount in California.
  • Furnish them with accurate itemized wage statements.
  • Timely pay them all wages due following separation of employment.

Regarding hours worked, Swift Transportation drivers claim the carrier did not compensate for all duties, including:

  • Driving miles in excess of the estimated miles for which they were paid.
  • Performing pre- and post-trip inspections.
  • Fueling vehicles.
  • Waiting for dispatch to be issued assignments via onboard computer systems.
  • Hooking and unhooking empty trailers.

In 2019, Swift Transportation agreed to a $100 million settlement in a class action lawsuit with nearly 20,000 truck drivers that accused the company of misclassifying them as independent contractors. LL