|By PR Newswire||
|August 27, 2014 02:58 PM EDT||
OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that a class of 2,300 individuals working for FedEx Ground was misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees. As a result, FedEx may owe its workforce of 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 scanners, as well as missed meal and rest period pay, overtime compensation, and penalties. The case, known as Alexander v. FedEx Ground, covers employees in California from 2000 - 2007. The ruling can be found on the Leonard Carder website at leonardcarder.com.
Judge Fletcher's majority opinion was very clear on the question of whether these workers are employees or independent contractors, stating "We hold that plaintiffs are employees as a matter of law under California's right-to-control test."
The court's decision is the most recent in a series of cases that have methodically proven that FedEx Ground's independent contractor model is built on the legal fiction that its drivers are in business for themselves. The Ninth Circuit decisively rejected that claim. The court's finding in Alexander that drivers in California are covered by California's workplace protection statutes not only impacts one of FedEx Ground's largest workforces but could influence the outcome in over two dozen cases nationwide in which FedEx Ground drivers are challenging the legality of their independent contractor classification. Millions of packages are delivered every day across the state under the control, direction, and supervision of FedEx Ground. In addition, many trucking companies have been operating under a similar model in which they classify their drivers as independent contractors.
"FedEx Ground built its business on the backs of individuals it labelled as independent contractors, promising them the entrepreneurial American Dream," said Leonard Carder Attorney Beth A. Ross who is a national leader on cases covering the exploitation of workers by mischaracterizing them as independent contractors. "However, as Judge Trott said in his concurring opinion, not all that glitters is gold."
FedEx now requires its so-called contractors in California to hire a secondary workforce of FedEx drivers, who do the same work as the plaintiffs under the same contract. The Alexander decision calls into question FedEx's strategy of making plaintiffs the middle men between the secondary workforce of drivers and FedEx.
"We have heard of many instances where the secondary drivers are earning such low wages that they have to rely on public assistance to make ends meet," said Ross.
Background on the everyday experience for FedEx Ground drivers includes:
- FedEx Ground drivers were required to pay out of out of pocket for everything from the FedEx Ground branded trucks they drove (painted with the FedEx Ground logo) to fuel, various forms of insurance, tires, oil changes, maintenance, etc. as well as their uniforms, scanners and even workers compensation coverage.
- In some cases workers were required to pay the wages of employees who FedEx Ground required them to hire to cover for them if they were sick or needed a vacation, to help out during the Christmas rush, and in some cases to drive other FedEx Ground trucks.
- After paying these expenses, a typical FedEx driver makes less than employee drivers at FedEx Ground's competitors like UPS, and receives none of the employee benefits, like health care, workers compensation, paid sick leave and vacation, and retirement.
- In addition, their employment was subject to the whims of FedEx management and FedEx Ground's decisions on staffing and routes left the employee drivers stuck with expensive long-term truck leases on FedEx branded trucks.
The drivers' attorney Beth Ross added, "Nationally, thousands of FedEx Ground drivers must pay for the privilege of working for FedEx 55 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Today, these workers were granted rights and benefits entitled to employees under California law. To be clear, the Ninth Circuit exposed FedEx Ground's independent contractor model as unlawful."
Among the noteworthy elements to emerge from the litigation, FedEx Ground's practices take advantage of workers and are anti-competitive. FedEx Ground's so-called "contractors" do the same work as UPS and U.S. Postal Service drivers for substantially less pay and without benefits. This plays out in two distinct ways. FedEx Ground saves money and harms drivers and the public by avoiding employment taxes and workers' compensation insurance, and complying with all other workplace protections.
Ross added, "This ruling will have seismic impact on this industry and the lives of FedEx Ground drivers in California."
About Leonard Carder
As one of the oldest and most renowned law firms representing labor unions and employees, Leonard Carder's focus is to provide top-flight legal representation to the labor movement and to advocate on behalf of employees through class actions, individual employee rights cases, and law reform litigation.
SOURCE Leonard Carder
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Sep. 29, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,444
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Sep. 29, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,009
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
Sep. 29, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 305
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 29, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,903
Sep. 29, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,686
Sep. 29, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 5,131
Sep. 29, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,743
Sep. 29, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,755
Sep. 29, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 436
Sep. 29, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,138
Sep. 29, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,590
Sep. 29, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,154
Sep. 29, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,517
Sep. 29, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,164
Sep. 29, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,407