Court finds FedEx Ground misclassified 2,300 drivers as independent contractors

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 8/28/2014

A federal appeals court in California has ruled that approximately 2,300 drivers for FedEx Ground were actually employees of the company, having been improperly labeled by FedEx as independent contractors under California law.

“We hold that plaintiffs are employees as a matter of law under California’s right-to-control test,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its ruling on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

In a statement, Beth A. Ross, attorney for Leonard Carder, which represented the drivers, claims FedEx Ground may owe its drivers “hundreds of millions of dollars for illegally shifting to them the costs of such things as the FedEx-branded trucks, FedEx-branded uniforms and FedEx-branded scanners, as well as missed meal and rest period pay, overtime compensation and penalties.”

While the company controlled nearly every aspect of their businesses, the FedEx Ground drivers also claimed they made far less than employee drivers who worked for FedEx. They did not receive important employee benefits like health care, workers’ compensation, paid sick leave, vacation and retirement.

“Nationally, thousands of FedEx Ground drivers must pay for the privilege of working for FedEx 55 hours a week, 52 weeks a year,” said Ross in a statement about the federal court’s ruling. “Today, these workers were granted rights and benefits entitled to employees under California law.”

The case involves FedEx Ground drivers who worked for the carrier between 2000 and 2007 in California.

The FedEx ruling is the latest in a number of lawsuits filed by drivers of trucking companies on the misclassification issue in California.

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