Fifth Circuit: Clarification on Small Vehicle Exception to the Motor Carrier Act Overtime Exemption

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May 16, 2018

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In Carley v. Crest Pumping Technologies, LLC, the Fifth Circuit recently clarified ambiguities in the small vehicle exception to the Motor Carrier Act (MCA) overtime exemption. Generally, the overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) do not apply to employees covered by the MCA, except for employees who operate vehicles weighing 10,000 lbs. or less under certain conditions (“small vehicle exception”).

Employees covered by the MCA are those who operate commercial motor vehicles for transport in exchange for compensation. Under the Technical Correction Act (TCA), the small vehicle exception does not apply to employees working on small vehicles designed or used to transport more than eight passengers for compensation or more than 15 passengers not for compensation, or transport hazardous materials as regulated by the Department of Transportation.

In Carley, the parties disputed how to determine vehicle weight, and whose burden it is to prove the small vehicle exception. The Fifth Circuit confirmed that a vehicle’s weight is measured by the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), usually listed on vehicle door labels and in the vehicle’s owner’s manual, rather than the actual weight of the vehicle. Additionally, the court stated that employees have the burden to prove the small vehicle exception applies to them, given that it is similar to an employee’s burden to show they are covered by the FLSA’s overtime requirement.

Action Items

  1. Employers should review GVWRs on its vehicle fleet to audit whether or not applicable employees are exempt from overtime.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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