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Monday, October 18, 2021

NJ Employment Whistleblower Attorney, My Employer Demands That I Drive Excessive Hours

A far too common complaint voiced by commercial truck drivers are the exorbitant demands placed upon them by their employers to drive an excessive amount of time without breaks. While it’s a profit-driven motive on the part of businesses, it disregards the potential dangers to the public and such practices frequently run afoul of the law.

Sometimes when employees complain or object to their employers that the excessive driving without sufficient breaks runs contrary to State Vehicle Code Regulations for such drivers, their employers remain impenitent about their dangerous practices and continue to enforce such demands upon their drivers. In New Jersey, if you complain about such practices that run afoul of the law and your employer retaliates against you, you may have a valid whistleblower  claim under the  New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act, N.J.P.A. Sec. 34:19-1 et seq., (“CEPA”). Whistleblower claims are not limited to transportation codes. Valid whistleblower claims can relate to your objecting to your employer asking you to break the law regarding race discrimination statutes or complaining about business practices that you believe violate the law, such as wage and hour laws. I have successfully represented employees in CEPA claims and was successful in recovering six figure settlement money for them.

Commercial Drivers License Employees

Both public and private employers of truck drivers and those whose employment requires driving with a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), must comply with all State and Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulations.

There are numerous state and Federal regulations that employers must adhere to for the safety not only of the drivers but also for the public. Employers of bus drivers and commercial truck drivers must comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) have minimum standards for those involved with the operation of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce, in order to cover all people and entities involved in interstate operation of these trucks.

Regulations issued by FMCSA are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. NJ State and federal Departments of Transportation have adopted these regulations and at times have added their own regulations.

The FMCSA in 2003 found that approximately 8 percent of long-haul driver hours exceeded the then current daily and weekly limits of their Federal Regulations for commercial drivers, § 395.3. The FMCSA revised their regulations as follows in part for property carrying drivers with some exceptions.  The text of § 395.3 was amended to read as follows in part.

Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.

Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in § 395.1:

(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle:

(1) More than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty; or

(2) For any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty, except when a property-carrying driver complies with the provisions of § 395.1(o).

(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver's services, for any period after-

(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or

(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

(c)

(1) Any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours; or

(2) Any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.

Note: There were other amendments to these regulations that are to be applied in conjunction with them.

DO NOT SIT ON YOUR RIGHTS!

Do not sit on your rights, or you may lose the right to file your claim. If you think you have been retaliated against for complaining about or reporting to your employer what you believe are your employer’s illegal practices, it is essential for you to contact an experienced, competent and successful employment whistleblower attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights as soon as possible.

If you have been demoted, had your hours cut, terminated, harassed or been subjected to retaliation for complaining about, objecting to, refusing to participate in, or reporting what you believe is your employer’s illegal or improper conduct, you should contact this law firm as soon as possible. I am an experienced and compassionate employment attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights.  I am successful in bringing whistleblower lawsuits against governmental entities and private employers and recovering money for whistleblower workers.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace retaliation, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept whistleblower and discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.



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