The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two classes of individuals working for FedEx Ground in California and Oregon were misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.
The case is the latest in a string of U.S. rulings against trucking companies that the courts say misclassified drivers as contractors rather than employees.
Like in almost all of these cases, the amount of day-to-day control the company exhibited over its contractors and the company branding and equipment used by the drivers was a key factor in the court’s decision.
The court’s finding in this latest ruling that drivers in California are covered by California’s workplace protection statutes not only impacts one of FedEx Ground’s largest workforces, but also could influence the outcome in over two dozen cases nationwide in which FedEx Ground drivers are challenging the legality of their independent contractor classification, according a release from the law firm Leonard Carder, which represented the California plaintiffs.
FedEx said it would appeal the decision.
“We fundamentally disagree with these rulings, which run counter to more than 100 state and federal findings, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, upholding our contractual relationships with thousands of independent businesses,” FedEx Ground Senior Vice President and General Counsel Cary Blancett said in a statement.