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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Slayman v. FedEx Ground: FedEx Drivers Are Employees Under "Economic Realities" Test

In Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., ___ F. 3d. ___ (9th Cir. 8/27/14) (discussed here) the Ninth Circuit held that FedEx drivers were employees under California law, which focuses primarily on "whether the person to whom service is rendered has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired." 

In Slayman v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. 8/27/14), the Court held that the same result applies under the "economic realities" test. The Court reasoned as follows:

As in Alexander, the drivers were employees under the "right to control" test. 
Slip op. at 15-23.  

The drivers also were employees under the economic realities test, which encompasses situations "situations where the worker is not directed or controlled by the employer but, nevertheless, as a matter of economic reality, depends on the employer." Slip op. at 24.

All but one named plaintiff stopped working for FedEx before suit was filed and lacked Article III standing to seek prospective relief. Remaining named plaintiff stopped working for FedEx before class certification decision, and his claim for prospective relief became moot at that time. Under these circumstances, district court should not have certified prospective relief claims. Slip op. at 25-27.

The opinion is available here

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