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Retailer not exempt from paying truckers overtime: US Court

TRENTON, N.J. -- A New Jersey Appeals Court ruled that a furniture retailer cannot take advantage of the trucking exemption in the state's overtime pay laws to avoid paying its delivery workers time-and-a-half when they work more than 40 hours a week.

Raymour and Flanigan, a retail furniture business, also operates customer service centers and distribution centers, where it stores and warehouses its goods, then transports those goods by truck to customers.

The company said that because its trucking operation is a separate establishment form its retail facilities, it qualifies as a "trucking industry employer" and therefore is exempt from the state's overtime law for those employees.

The law provides an exemption for "trucking industry employers," which the statute defines as "any business or establishment primarily operating for the purpose of conveying property from one place to another by road or highway, including the storage and warehousing of goods and property."

State labor officials disagreed with the retailer, and submitted the matter for a ruling by an Administrative Law Judge, who ruled that R&F did not qualify as a trucking industry employer.

The three-judge appeals court ruled against the furniture company, saying, "Extending the exemption to retail industry employers, who conduct their delivery operations at a separate location, would be contrary to the purpose of the wage and hour legislation to protect the health and welfare of employees," the court ruled. "It would allow a retail business employer to avoid paying time-and-a-half of the employee's regular wage simply by placing the trucking and delivery operation of its business in a separate building."

-- via Truckinginfo.com


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