Richard Hayber of The Hayber Law Firm (Courtesy photo)
FedEx has been hit with another lawsuit by a group of delivery drivers who claim the nation’s second-largest parcel delivery company is skirting federal law by not paying overtime.
The lawsuit claims that certain drivers employed through intermediary entities FedEx calls “independent service providers” are, in fact, FedEx employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The 11-page collective action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut Thursday on behalf of three drivers.
The suit seeks to recover unpaid overtime owed to all drivers working under an ISP contract.
FedEx agreed to pay drivers in 20 states $240 million in June 2016 to settle lawsuits which claimed the company misclassified them as independent contractors.
The new lawsuit states that while the company claims the drivers are employed by independent companies who contract with FedEx, they are still FedEx employees. The drivers wear FedEx uniforms, clock in and out each day on time systems in FexEx facilities, and can only use FedEx-approved equipment in their vehicles.
“After years of defending litigation challenging the employment status of these drivers around the country — during which time multiple courts around the country held that FedEx misclassified its delivery drivers as independent contractors when they were actually FedEx’s employees under various state wage laws — FedEx shifted its method of hiring drivers in many states by contracting with ISPs in an effort to continue to avoid liability under the wage laws for its delivery drivers,” the lawsuit claims.
In addition, the suit states: “FedEx has acted in reckless disregard of the drivers’ rights under the FLSA.”
Thursday’s lawsuit was filed on behalf drivers Huntley Jameson of Connecticut, Jordan Roy of Massachusetts and Angel Sullivan-Blake of Texas.
All three delivered FedEx packages while working for ISPs over the past three years, according to the lawsuit. Jameson averaged approximately 50-55 hours per week, Roy averaged 45-50 hours per week and Sullivan-Blake usually worked more than 60 hours per week.
In a statement emailed Monday, FedEx wrote the complaint admits the drivers are employed by ISPs who are contracted with FedEx.
“All service providers under contract with FedEx Ground are incorporated businesses that agree to treat their personnel as their employees, which means those businesses are responsible for providing worker protections in compliance with all applicable wage and hour laws,” FedEx said. “Service providers agree to provide annual compliance certification to FedEx Ground and are subject to compliance assessments. We will vigorously defend our position in this matter.”
Richard E. Hayber, who represents the drivers, said the lawsuit was brought because FedEx failed to reclassify its drivers despite the previous litigation.
“Rather than reclassify these driver as employees, FedEx instead has constructed a layer of intermediary companies designed to insulate it from liability for its ongoing misclassification,” Hayber said, who has offices in Hartford, New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts. “This lawsuit claims that FedEx remains the employer of its drivers and is responsible for any violations of state and federal wage laws.”
It’s not clear how many people could be a party to the collective action, although the suit states the company employs “thousands” of drivers. The lawsuit would cover any driver who worked for FedEx over the past three years under an ISP.
The case is scheduled to be heard in front of U.S. District Court Judge Warren W. Eginton.