New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Attorney Deborah L. Mains, Esq. Discusses Victory for Federal Express Drivers
In September of 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision that represents a substantial victory for employees who are deliberately misclassified by their employers as "independent contractors" in order to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime pay, payroll taxes and responsibility for other entitlements of employees. In this particular case, the employees at issue were delivery drivers for Federal Express, who were deemed by Federal Express to be "independent contractors" despite the fact that Fed Ex exerted substantial control over these individuals. The Ninth Circuit found as a matter of law that the drivers are indeed employees.
We've blogged about this issue before, and I'm sure we'll blog about it again. Employers, more and more, resort to deliberately misclassifying their employees as contractors in order to avoid responsibility for providing workers' compensation insurance, to avoid responsibility for paying overtime, to avoid responsibility for paying minimum wage, to avoid responsibility for providing health benefits that employees would otherwise be entitled to pursuant to company policy, to avoid making contributions to social security and for paying other payroll taxes the employer would be required to pay. The lengths to which corporate America will go in order to evade the law seem to have no bounds, particularly when it comes to employees and wage and hour laws.
We applaud the Ninth Circuit for making this decision and for enforcing the law the way it was intended to be interpreted and enforced.