A federal appeals court has reversed decisions in three class action lawsuits finding that independent contractors operating for FedEx Ground can be classified as employees.
The contractors in question worked in California from 2000-2007 and in Oregon from 1999-2009. According to FedEx, it has limited itself to contracting with incorporated business — which serve as the actual employers of drivers, not FedEx — since 2011.
The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturns the decisions by the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
“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,” said Cary Blancett, FedEx Ground senior vice president and general counsel. “The operating agreement on which these rulings are based has been significantly strengthened in recent years, and we look forward to continuing to work with service providers across our network to provide customers the industry’s most reliable service.”
According to FedEx, it currently contracts with 550 businesses in California and more than 100 businesses in Oregon. The company said it will roll out new independent service provider contracts in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.