Two former and one current Oakhurst Dairy delivery drivers on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland claiming that the Portland-based company has failed for years to pay them overtime compensation in violation of state and federal wage laws.
The delivery truck drivers claim in the suit that while they typically worked 50 to 60 hours per week, Oakhurst paid them a flat, weekly salary regardless of how many hours they worked or miles they drove.
The three drivers – Christopher O’Connor of Brunswick, Kevin O’Connor of Winslow and James Adam Cox of Brunswick – contend that their jobs are not exempt from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or the state Minimum Wage and Overtime Law and that they should have been paid time and a half for any amount of work in excess of 40 hours per week.
They are demanding that Oakhurst pay them and other drivers like them for all unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated damages and interest.
“It’s currently that way, and it’s been that way for a long period of time. Our complaint is limited by the statute of limitations, which is six years,” said attorney Carol Garvan, whose Augusta firm Johnson, Webbert and Young filed the suit on the men’s behalf.
Christopher O’Connor currently works for Oakhurst, driving from its Portland base. Kevin O’Connor worked for the company from 2005 until 2009. Cox worked for the company from 2009 to 2011.
Garvan said that Oakhurst employs about 50 such drivers, which it refers to as route salesmen, at any given time. Their weekly pay varies from person to person but is in the range of $1,000 per week, she said.
Oakhurst co-presidents John Bennett and Thomas Brigham said in a phone conference on Monday afternoon that they had yet to be served with the lawsuit and had received no notice that it might be coming.
“Until we see it, we will want to decline comment,” Bennett said.
Oakhurst, which had been owned by a Maine family since it was founded in 1921, was sold on Jan. 31 to Dairy Farmers of America, a national cooperative of more than 8,000 farms in 48 states.
Garvan said that the timing of the lawsuit was unrelated to the sale of the company.
While Oakhurst’s sole manufacturing facility is at 364 Forest Ave. in Portland, the company also operates distribution facilities elsewhere in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Oakhurst’s products include milk, cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, egg nog, butter, ice cream mixes, juices, teas and water.
Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at: