Slayman v. FedEx

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 08-27-2014
  • Case #: No. 12-35559
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fletcher for the Court; Circuit Judges Goodwin and Trott
  • Full Text Opinion

A Court may use the "Economics Realities Test" as well as the "Right to Control Test" to determine if an individual is an employee or and independent contractor to an employer.

The issue presented before the panel was whether or not FedEx workers are employees of the company as opposed to independent contractors. The plaintiffs, who are former FedEx drivers contend that, as a matter of law, they were employed by the company and were not independent contractors. The facts show that FedEx’s operating agreement required the drivers to abide by certain company policies including the “Safe Driving Standards” set by the company. The drivers also had to report to FedEx managers at the start of their shifts. However, there were also numerous policies set in place by FedEx that served more as guidelines to the drivers as opposed to rules. The panel analyzed the plaintiffs’ contentions by applying two tests that determine whether or not an individual is an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. The first test that the panel applied was the “Right to Control Test”. After applying the factors of the test, the panel determined that FedEx had a great amount of control over how the drivers performed their work, favoring the argument that the drivers are employees. The next test the panel used was the “Economics Realities Test.” This test outlines how much the worker depends on the employer for their economic well-being. The drivers were often delivering the packages between nine to eleven hours per day and were overseen by managers who could determine if they could or not not work for the day. The panel thus determined that under this test, the plaintiffs could reasonably considered to be employees. Overall, the panel sided with the plaintiffs’ contentions, basing their decision off of the “Right to Control Test” and the “Economics Realities Test”. Therefore, the panel found that the plaintiffs are considered to be employees of FedEx. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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