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Gomez v. JP Trucking, Inc.

2022 CO 21. No. 20SC950. Interstate Drivers—Overtime Compensation—Overtime Exemption—Colorado Minimum Wage Order, 7 Colo. Code Regs. 1103-1—Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC §§ 201–209—Motor Carrier Act Exemption, 29 USC § 213(b)(l).

May 16, 2022

In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether four commercial truck drivers were entitled to overtime pay from their former employer, JP Trucking, Inc., for hours they worked exceeding 40 hours per week or 12 hours per day. A state regulation in effect during the relevant timeframe (i.e., throughout 2015), Colorado Minimum Wage Order 31, contains a provision exempting “interstate drivers” from overtime compensation (the Wage Order 31 exemption). The Court held that the term “interstate drivers” in the Wage Order 31 exemption refers to drivers whose work takes them across state lines, regardless of how often. Therefore, the Wage Order 31 exemption is triggered the first time a driver crosses state lines during a work trip.

Here, two of the four truck drivers did not cross state lines during a work trip. Consequently, they do not come within the scope of “interstate drivers” in the Wage Order 31 exemption and were entitled to overtime compensation. But the other two drivers each crossed state lines during a work trip, which rendered them “interstate drivers” under the Wage 31 exemption and thus ineligible for overtime compensation. The fact that these two drivers crossed state lines on only one occasion is academic. Contrary to the truck drivers’ contention, there is no basis to hold that the term “interstate drivers” applies only if a driver’s work takes him or her across state lines predominantly.

The Court reversed the judgment of the division below and remanded the case for further proceedings. On remand, the division should consider JP Trucking’s remaining contentions regarding the calculation of damages. The Court cautioned that the holding in this case is limited by a recently enacted state regulation that changes the meaning of “interstate drivers.” This decision governs only the Wage Order 31 exemption and other Wage Orders containing that exemption.

Official Colorado Supreme Court proceedings can be found at the Colorado Supreme Court website.

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