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In a case construing the Kansas Wage Payment Act (“KWPA”), but also having important implications for the workers’ compensation arena, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that drivers for FedEx Ground Package System are employees of the firm and not independent contractors. The holding came after the 7th Circuit had certified two questions to the Kansas Supreme Court: (1) Given the undisputed facts presented to the district court in this case, are the plaintiff drivers employees of FedEx as a matter of law under the KWPA? (2) Drivers can acquire more than one service area from Fed Ex. Is the answer to the preceding question different for plaintiff drivers who have more than one service area? The 7th Circuit noted that the Kansas court had answered “yes” to the first question and, as applied to the members of the certified class—drivers who “drive a vehicle on a full-time basis”—answered “no” to the second question. Those answers by the Kansas court necessitated the reversal of the MDL court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of FedEx. In deciding that the drivers are employees, the 7th Circuit also noted that decisions by a number of other courts were consistent with its own.
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).
LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.
See In re: FedEx Ground Package Sys. Empl. Practices Litigation, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11770 (7th Cir., July 8, 2015) [2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11770 (7th Cir., July 8, 2015)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 63.01 [63.01]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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