July 19, 2019: This Friday, six paratransit and medical transportation drivers and a dispatcher filed suit for unpaid wages in federal court against Transdev Services, Inc. The plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that they worked far more than 40 hours per week on shifts lasting up to 15 hours but were paid as little as $4 per hour.
The plaintiffs allege that Transdev held a contract with the City of Baltimore to provide non-emergency medical transportation to Medicaid recipients and a second contract with the state of Maryland to transport people whose disabilities that prevent them from using other mass transit options. They claim that although Transdev had subcontracts with another company to provide some of these services, Transdev determined who the drivers would pick up, where they needed to go, and what time they needed to be there. They allege that Transdev violated the contracts with the City and State that required it to make sure that all drivers—including drivers employed by subcontractors—were paid higher living wage rates.
“It’s hard to pay your bills when you’re getting paid less than minimum wage,” said Monica Jones, one of the plaintiff drivers. “City and State contracts are supposed to make sure that drivers like us can get by, but they only work if everybody lives up to their side of the deal.”
Both the City of Baltimore and the state of Maryland have “living wage” rules that require certain government contractors to pay a higher wage to their workers. Baltimore City’s living wage ordinance requires a higher overtime pay rate when one of these workers works more than eight hours in a single day. The complaint alleges that Transdev violated both the City’s and State’s living wage requirements.
The case was brought by the Public Justice Center’s Workplace Justice Project, which partners with low-wage workers, community and labor organizations, and fellow advocates to enforce, protect, and expand the rights of low-wage workers. The non-profit civil legal aid organization joined with Outten & Golden LLP to represent the plaintiff drivers.
“Our city and state have living wage rules so that workers who help carry out government contracts don’t earn wages that keep them in poverty,” said attorney David Rodwin, who represents the plaintiffs. “Businesses with government contracts should follow the rules.”
The lawsuit is the first in the state of Maryland that the plaintiffs’ counsel are aware of that seeks private enforcement of the state’s living wage law. A previous suit filed by other drivers against Transdev, which settled in late 2018, also sought private enforcement of the City’s living wage ordinance.
The case is Danielle McCoy, et al. v. Transdev Services, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Case No. 19-2137. The workers are represented by David Rodwin and Sally Dworak-Fisher of the Public Justice Center and Sally Abrahamson and Hannah Cole-Chu of Outten & Golden, LLP.