Mass.: Limo Drivers Entitled to Overtime

By Diane Cadrain January 15, 2015

A group of limousine drivers should have been paid overtime, despite the fact that they work for an employer whose company is otherwise not subject to overtime laws, a state trial court decided.

The drivers work for Knight's Airport Limousine Service, driving cars that seat fewer than eight and taking customer to pre-designated locations under arrangements made individually with customers, with pick-up and drop-off points varying by agreement. Drivers don’t follow fixed routes and collect riders.

In this capacity, they claimed, they frequently worked shifts of more than 40 hours, for which they were entitled to compensation of time and a half. They filed a class action against Knight’s under state wage law.

In court, Knight’s pointed out that the company is licensed as a common carrier, and as such is exempt from overtime requirements. The drivers countered that their duties did not fall into the categories covered by Knight’s common carrier license, which covered providing charter services for groups of ten or more and/or carriage transport for passengers along established routes between fixed termini.

The court acknowledged Knight’s license, but added that the limo drivers did not work in an area of Knight’s transportation business falling within the scope of the law.

The drivers drove vehicles carrying fewer than eight, and did not take on random passengers along established routes. They worked for fixed groups of Knight's customers under individualized transportation agreements.

The court decided that the general overtime exemption for employees of common carriers did not apply to this category of employee. Thus the drivers were potentially entitled to overtime compensation for any hours over 40 in a week.

Reis v. Knight’s Airport Limousine Service, SMass. Super. Ct., No. 310972 (Dec. 12, 2014).

Diane Cadrain is an attorney who has been writing about employment law issues for more than 20 years.

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