Many legal and regulatory hazards can arise for motor carriers in onboarding and recordkeeping for both employee driver and independent owner-operator fleets – some similar and some unique between the two operating models. This session will discuss the benefits of customizable, third-party technology in complying with DOT and other legal and regulatory requirements including driver applications, DOT medical qualification, Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse compliance, MVRs, background checks and FCRA releases, and TCPA issues. Given increased attacks on the independent contractor model by various states including California and New Jersey, the panel will recommend owner-operator specific onboarding and recordkeeping practices along the journey from Independent Contractor Operating Agreement execution to amendment to termination, intended to avoid (where possible), or at least position motor carriers to successfully navigate, potential reclassification efforts in various contexts.
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Presented by Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary Partners Rebecca Trenner & Kelli Block; and Shannon Wheeler, General Counsel, Tenstreet
Rebecca Trenner regularly defends motor carrier clients against state unemployment agency efforts to reclassify independent contractor owner-operators as employees in both the benefit claim and tax audit contexts. She also advises carriers on state unemployment tax jurisdiction issues and defends clients in state unemployment tax rate manipulation (i.e. SUTA dumping) investigations and appeals. Additionally, Becky has assisted clients with independent contractor reclassification matters in the state and federal employment tax and workers’ compensation contexts.
Kelli Block's practice focuses on a wide variety of legal issues concentrated on independent contractor issues in the transportation industry. Kelli counsels clients on corporate structures and operational strategies designed to reduce exposure to liability on numerous fronts, including the alleged misclassification of owner-operators as independent contractors in various contexts. Kelli also regularly defends clients undergoing audits for compliance with various state and federal laws, including audits conducted by the U.S. DOL, the IRS, and the U.S. EPA.
Shannon Wheeler is the General Counsel at Tenstreet, the trucking industry’s leading ATS and Safety software platform that allows carriers to fill their trucks, manage DOT and other industry compliance challenges, and connect with drivers. Shannon advises on all things compliance at Tenstreet, including the development of Tenstreet’s software products from a compliance focus to assist Tenstreet’s customers with their most challenging compliance concerns. She also regularly consults with carriers and their legal representatives on industry best practices and how to practically achieve compliance through the use of the Tenstreet Platform.
Shannon regularly provides education and industry compliance information to carriers and employers through webinars and other speaking events. She has presented on challenging compliance topics including the detailed practical aspects of compliance with the FMCSA regulations, compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, steps to reduce the risks associated with nuclear verdicts, and managing the various state regulations that affect the owner-operator model.
Prior to joining Tenstreet, Shannon spent a decade representing clients in litigation with a strong focus on defending employers faced with employment law claims. She received her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University, and graduated with highest honors from the University of Tulsa College of Law.