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Saleem v. Corporate Transportation Group, Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
854 F.3d 131 (2017)


Facts

Mazhar Saleem and other black-car drivers (plaintiffs) who had franchises to drive for Corporate Transportation Group, Ltd. (CTG) (defendant) brought a class-action lawsuit seeking overtime pay under New York labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The drivers either rented or bought franchises from CTG that allowed them to drive for other companies, choose how to pick up fares, and decide when and where to drive. Drivers could and did drive for other companies regularly, with some earning substantial income elsewhere. Drivers also picked up street hails despite local licensing laws prohibiting it. Drivers could terminate their franchises whenever they chose, even though CTG had to maintain the franchises for substantial periods of time and could not terminate drivers absent a breach. CTG did require drivers to comply with its rule book while driving for CTG, such as following the dress code and keeping vehicles clean. However, drivers did not have to wear uniforms or mark their cars with a CTG logo. The trial court dismissed the drivers’ overtime pay claims, reasoning that they qualified as independent contractors and not employees under the labor laws. The drivers appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Livingston, J.)

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