FedEx Might Need to Pay Truckers Hundreds of Millions
OAKLAND, CA — The U.S. federal court has ruled that thousands of FedEx Ground drivers were misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.
FedEx may owe those drivers millions of dollars to cover the costs, according to law firm Leonard Carder, which represented the California drivers.
FedEx drivers’ had to pay for FedEx Ground branded trucks (branded with FedEx Ground logo), fuel, insurance, tires, oil changes, maintenance, uniforms, scanners and workers’ compensation coverage
In some cases, FedEx drivers had to pay wages to sub-contractors, which the company required them to hire to cover for their missed shifts (in case of sickness, vacation or to help during Christmas rush).
According to the law firm, 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. As such, FedEx’s practices are anti-competitive.
The drivers’ lawyer, Beth Ross, commented: “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.”
The ruling stems from lawsuits originally filed in California involving about 2,300 full-time delivery drivers between 2000 and 2007, and two suits filed in Oregon involving more than 360 people who were full-time delivery drivers between 1999 and 2009.
But the company said it would appeal the court’s 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.
The current court ruling that FedEx’s drivers are employees might also affect the outcome in over two dozen cases throughout the states in which FedEx Ground drivers are challenging the legality of their title— independent contractor.