An Eastern Iowa trucking company could be facing a lawsuit after alleging it has schemed to “effectively steal money from their drivers.”

Semi-trailer truck
Tomasz WyszoÃÂÃÂmirski

An article in Iowa Capital Dispatch says that the lawsuit alleges that JMS Trucking of Cedar Rapids and an affiliate JMS Transportation signed contracts with several independent drivers or transportation companies. In these contracts, they allegedly specified that wages that will be paid to contracted drivers were to be based on a “copy of the rated freight bill” that documents the fees JMS collected from companies that were using the transportation services.

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The lawsuit says that JMS contracted dedicated routes with its drivers. This means the drivers were consistently driving the same truckloads for the same customers on the same route. These routes are on more predictable schedules allowing for consistency.

On paper, a dedicated route may sound nice but some drivers running these routes are often paid less, routes can vary in difficulty leading to higher turnover, and customer service emphasis is higher.

The return trip on dedicated route jobs is considered “empty miles” which means the drivers don’t get to earn any more than what was agreed on. The agreed amount, says Iowa Capital Dispatch, is based on a percentage of JMS’ compensation for the road plus 100 percent of fuel costs for the trips.

Photo by Shay on Unsplash
Photo by Shay on Unsplash

The article says that the lawsuit alleges that even though customers are billed for deliveries and return trips, JMS has “furtively adopted an internal policy and practice of falsely representing to their contracted drivers … that they have invoiced and received reimbursement from customers for the loaded miles only.”

In doing this, the lawsuit alleges that JMS is able to “pocked” around 50 percent of fuel expenses.

The lawsuit has been filed in a federal court.

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