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Fedex Driver Illegally Denied
Unemployment Benefits

August 23 2006 - The Massachusetts department of workforce development has ruled that a former FedEx home delivery driver was illegally denied unemployment benefits after finding that he was actually an employee of FedEx, not an independent contractor as the company claimed.

The state examiner found that the driver was entitled to unemployment benefits because his services "must be considered to have been under the direction and control" of FedEx. The decision noted a number of reasons why the driver should be considered an employee, including the fact that he was required to:

  • work to a schedule dictated by the company and without the flexibility typically afforded a truly independent contractor.
  • rent the company electronic package scanner, required by the company to monitor driver output.
  • buy the company uniform and delivery vehicle from the dealer specified by the company.

FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, is presently the subject of numerous legal proceedings, including class action lawsuits brought by present and former drivers on the basis that they had been misclassified as independent contractors. Since December 2005, FedEx Ground has been assessed liable for nearly US$100 million by courts and/or government agencies regarding employment practices in respect of its drivers.

Lynn Rossman Faris, lead attorney, said:

"State after state, and federal agencies, have been rejecting the company's position and exposing its so-called independent contractor business model as a sham to avoid paying huge amounts in business expenses it - not drivers - should be shouldering."

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