Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act vs. California’s Meal and Rest Break Requirements


Initially, wage and hour putative class action brought by the same truck drivers was dismissed. Alleged claims were based on violations of California’s meal break laws. The class action was dismissed on the ground that the Federal Aviation Administration Act (FAAAA) preempted California meal break laws. It was the second time in recent months that a court upheld the argument that California’s break laws are preempted by the FAAAA. The FAAAA specifically preempts state laws when there is a significant impact on the “routes, service or prices” of motor carriers.

Truck drivers received a boost recently as their attempt to revive the class action suit against Vitran Express Inc. was supported by the Ninth Circuit court’s decision that the Federal Aviation Administration Act did not preempt California’s meal and rest break requirements. Many are watching the progress of the case.

Additional Background on the Case:

Plaintiffs were former truck drivers of Performance Food Group, Inc. (PFG), located in California. Plaintiffs claimed that PFG arranged delivery routes in order to ensure excellent customer service and timely delivery of cargo without taking into account “time pressure” on the truckers who were being given delivery windows and other policies that prevented them from taking meal breaks.

If you have questions about the California meal break laws, ask the experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.