A U.S. district judge issued a summary judgment ruling that FedEx Ground and home delivery drivers in Illinois are employees and not independent contractors under the Illinois Wage Act.
The May 28 ruling was the first in the complex FedEx Ground litigation over the classification of drivers as independent contractors, according to law firm Leonard Carder.
“It’s a very important step, but it’s not the end of the road,” said Lynn Rossman Faris, a lead plaintiffs attorney in the case and partner in Leonard Carder.
Other aspects of the Illinois drivers’ case remain for the court to decide. This Illinois case was also not certified as a class action, although that is subject to appeal.
Similar plaintiffs’ motions for summary judgment are pending for drivers in 39 other states, and seven other states have laws similar to Illinois’. The FedEx Ground Package System Inc. litigation includes 63 cases.
The judge ruled that the Illinois drivers were employees because “their delivery work was an essential part of FedEx’s business,” according to Leonard Carder.
The court noted that drivers must wear FedEx uniforms and drive trucks with FedEx logos, that FedEx structures drivers’ routes so that the trucks are in use nine to 11 hours a day, that FedEx must approve replacement drivers and that drivers were required to allow FedEx managers to go on customer service rides annually, according to Leonard Carder.
Filed by Staffing Industry Analysts, a sister company of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.