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CommoN WorkplACe VIolAtIoNS

Minimum wage & overtime

Minimum wage: Drivers typically work 60 to 72 hours (and more) a week. Calculated on this basis, hourly wages for drivers can sometimes fall below the minimum wage, especially for drivers renting

cars from owner-drivers. Overtime: Lack of overtime pay is pervasive because most drivers are not covered by overtime laws.

Illegal deductions

Drivers have considerable out-of-pocket expenses (many of which would need to be reimbursed if the drivers were covered by state employment laws).

Meal breaks

Drivers take some meal breaks from driving, but usually less frequently than would be required for workers covered by state law.


Independent contractors are not covered by OSHA.

Workers’ Compensation

Yellow cab and livery cab drivers have been deemed employees for the purpose of workers’ compensation. However, workers report that when they file claims they routinely need to prove their eligibility (as employees) before the claim is assessed.


Female drivers report harassment and discrimination by dispatchers and garages. Drivers classified as independent contractors do not have the legal right to organize.

Retaliation & the right to organize

Industry-specific violations

Yellow cab garages charge drivers a 3% sales tax on leases, which they are required to pay to New York State but often keep. Garages sometimes charge drivers for a weekly lease that is higher than the cap set by the Taxi & Limousine Commission. Garages are known to demand that the lease be paid in cash and refuse to give receipts, so drivers are left without proof to challenge these practices.

Note: All violations were assessed using legal standards in effect when interviews were conducted, and in particula , wage rates are from 2004 and 2005. Sources: Original data gathered by authors during fieldwork from 2003 through 2006 in New ork Cit , as well as the following secondary sources: Bowles and Chao (2004), Brennan Center For Justice (2003), Camerer et al. (1997), Farber (2003), Holt and Paradise (2002), Luo (2004a), Luo (2004b),

Mathew (2005), McGrath (2004), New Department of Labor (2007c), New ork Alston (2003).

ork City axi and Limousine Commission (2007), New ork State Department of Labor (2007b), New ork State


orkers Alliance (2003), Schaller Consulting (2004a), Schaller Consulting (2004b),

aheed and Romero-


Unregulated Work in the Global City, Brennan Center for Justice, 2007

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