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Court rules for FedEx in NLRB case

April 22 2009

A federal court ruled Tuesday that FedEx Home Delivery drivers are independent contactors, not employees. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a 2007 decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The court's majority opinion cited drivers' abilities to operate multiple routes, hire substitute drivers without FedEx's permission and sell routes as well as their contract as reasons for ruling they are independent contractors.

This case stemmed from an effort by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 25 to unionize Fedex Home Delivery drivers at two sites in Massachusetts in 2006. The union won the election, but FedEx refused to bargain with the union saying its drivers were independent contractors. The NLRB had decided against FedEx.

FedEx Home Delivery is part of FedEx Ground, itself a division of FedEx Corp.

FedEx also announced April 1 that a Washington state jury ruled that FedEx Ground workers were independent contractors and not employees. That lawsuit, Anfinson vs. FedEx Ground Package System Inc., involved 320 workers. However, FedEx faces other lawsuits regarding independent contractor status, including a national class action lawsuit, and state tax proceedings, according to its most recent 10-Q filing.

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