A federal appeals court has ruled that FedEx Ground drivers are employees not independent contractors reports the San Francisco Chronicle, Court rules FedEx drivers in state are employees, not contractors. The ruling applies to approximately 2,300 employees that worked in California in 2006-2007.  The appeals court explained its ruling by noting that:

  • The drivers must wear FedEx uniforms
  • drive FedEx-approved vehicles
  • groom themselves according to FedEx's appearance standards
  • FedEx specifies the type of vehicle, how it must be fitted up and painted.

The difference between an employee and an independent contractor is control. An independent contractor generally selects their own tools and decides when where and how to do the job.

The advantages for an employer to classify someone as an independent contractor instead of an employee include not having to pay overtime, not having to pay unemployment compensation, not having to provide workers compensation insurance and not having to pay payroll taxes. FedEx surely must get a competitive advantage from misclassifying their employees since its two main competitors, the Postal Service and UPS, properly classify their drivers as employees.

The national epidemic of stealing wages and overtime by misclassifying employees as independent contractors was discussed in a recent post, Wages & Overtime: Getting Paid What You've Earned, and this isn't the first time courts have ruled against FedEx's misclassification of employees as independent contractors as has been reported previously, FedEx Ground Delivery Driver Suit Settled for $2.3 Million, a case which involved FedEx Ground drivers in Montana. 

Lexington, Kentucky wages and overtime lawyer Robert Abell helps individuals and employees recover the wages and overtime they've earned but not been paid; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

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