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8 Ways Limo Hire Services Can Avoid Getting Sued By Their Chauffeurs

Over the past few years the number of employee based lawsuits that have destroyed limousine hire companies is astounding. In the majority of cases a lawsuit puts a company into bunker mode, affidavits need to be signed, animosity increases and everyone needs to choose sides. The working environment can be miserable which leads to employees not part of the lawsuit to quit their job and new employees hesitate to come onboard what they see as a sinking ship.

In the majority of cases lawsuits can be prevented, something that unfortunately many business owners fail to see. The key factor in avoiding or defending your business against a lawsuit is to set forth hard and fast employment and practices. This needs to be in writing and everyone has to sign off on it when getting hired.

The pay gap and the setup time

The majority of lawsuits in the limousine hire business stem from this one issue. The chauffeur is supposed to be paid from the time he or she pickups up a car until they drop it off. Also, chauffeurs expect to be paid for the gaps they take in between runs. Chauffeurs need to be compensated for setup time and car washes.

Using Independent operators

Also known as an IO, the operator should in fact be independent. This in reality means that the chauffeur either leases or owns the car, has his own insurance, pays for his own gas, and is licensed independent by the state. Many times a lawsuit will arise when an IO is forced to pay for company workman’s compensation or some other employee based fees. In order to avoid this, make sure there is a clear distinction between Independent Operators and chauffeurs that work for you.

Never be a Jerk

It is not surprising that a fair majority of class action lawsuits are mainly because of greed. These are mainly based on long and often deep seeded resentment and an utter hatred for the owners and manager. So, when a settlement is divided up, these payouts are always laughable. But these lawsuits are pursued by chauffeurs because they intend to hurt the hire company they work for.

Document each and everything

It is very important that you document every infraction by your employees and keep detailed personnel files. So, if you terminate a chauffeur you need to have a paper trial in order to support the dismissal.

Never retaliate

If you have a chauffeur file a labor board compliant against you, never retaliate. Because if you do, it opens your business up to a retaliation claim. This can obviously be very painful and often grow out of proportions.

Record everything

Make sure that every call is recorded. So, when a chauffeur has a problem, your dispatch needs to resolve the issue but only on a monitored line. This will make it easier for a manager to review any disagreement.

Install drive cams

Drive cams can fix two very important legal problems. The first problem is that it helps to keep often small fender benders from becoming personal injury lawsuits. The second is that they help to create a permanent record of any reckless driving that the court will accept. So, almost all incidents need to be downloaded and then added into the chauffeurs’ personnel files.

Use the employee handbook

There should be a fixed set of pre-defined standards that work for all chauffeurs. The handbook needs to include almost all matters of behavior, appearance and decorum. They need to be regularly evaluated primarily based on the list of expectations set in the handbook. So, if there are grievances there needs to be consistent evaluations to found a strong defense.

The limo hire business is a tough one. The number of operators that open shop barely make it past the five year mark. It is often the long hours, cut throat rates, and lousy clients that turn many businessmen off. So, an employee based lawsuit just makes matters worse. The good news is that chauffeurs are comparatively cool employees by nature and so they put up with a lot as part of the job. If they do not like what they are doing for you, many of them will really just leave.

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  •  License: Image author owned
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Manu Alias has been in the limo hire business for over a decade. He first started out as a limousine driver when in his early twenties. Today, he owns a fleet of limousines and wedding cars, in Sydney. His great customer service and experience is why he is so successful in this business.