Amazon delivery drivers have filed suit against the company for unpaid overtime. Amazon Delivery Drivers Sue Company Over Job Status reports the Seattle Times.
The suit raises a common issue in overtime cases: whether the delivery drivers are independent contractors, as Amazon has classified them, or whether they are employees. The difference is important: employees must be paid overtime but independent contractors do not. This is referred to as a "misclassification case," meaning that the delivery drivers were misclassified as indenpendent contractors instead of employees.
There is a legal test for whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. In Kentucky, the legal test is called the "economic realities" test and includes consideration of a number of factors; (1) the degree of control exercised by the alleged employer, (2) the extent of the relative investments of the worker and the alleged employer, (3) the degree to which the worker's opportunity for profit or loss is determined by the alleged employer, (4) the skill and initiative required in performing the job, and (5) the permanency of the relationship. The thrust of all these is to consider the issue of control. The Amazon drivers are claiming that the degree of control exercised over them by the company made them employees, not independent contractors.
We have discussed a number of times before the independent contractor/employee issue in the overtime context: Classifying Employees as Independent Contractors = Cheating; Construction Workers - Are You an Independent Contractor?; Employee or Independent Contractor?; Independent Contractor or Employee-One Way to Steal Overtime, Overtime Dodge: Calling Employees Independent Contractors to mention a few; this is obviously a recurring issue.
Lexington, Kentucky overtime lawyer Robert Abell helps employees and individuals recover the overtime pay they've earned but not been paid; contact him at 859-254-7076.