Court Of Appeals Finds Delivery Drivers Are Employees Not Independent Contractors

Last month, a Court of Appeals ruled that delivery drivers were employees not independent contractors and therefore, the drivers were entitled to overtime. The case involved a Georgia company called Affinity Logistics Corporation which contracted with Sears to provide home delivery services for various home furnishing retailers. The drivers were responsible for loading furniture and appliance deliveries, unloading deliveries, and installing the deliveries.

To determine whether the drivers were independent contractors or employees, the Court of Appeals stated that “the right to control work details is the most important or most significant consideration.”

The Court of Appeals then cited the ways that Affinity controlled the drivers’ work details:

  • Affinity controlled the drivers’ rates, schedules, and routes;
  • Affinity set the drivers’ flat “per stop” rate and the drivers could not negotiate for higher rates as independent contractors commonly can;
  • Affinity decided the days the drivers worked and retained the discretion to deny drivers’ requests for days off;
  • Affinity controlled how the drivers had their trucks painted and handled upkeep of the trucks;
  • Drivers were required to arrive at the warehouse every morning and pick up their route manifests;
  • Drivers were required to attend meetings;
  • Drivers were required to wear uniforms and abide by certain grooming requirements; and
  • Affinity closely monitored and supervised its drivers.

Based on the company’s right to control the work details of the drivers, the court held that the delivery drivers were employees not independent contractors despite the fact that the drivers signed typical independent contractor agreements with the company. Because the drivers were improperly classified as independent contractors, the drivers were entitled to past unpaid overtime.

If you have a question about whether your employer has properly classified you as an independent contractor, contact us for a free consultation.

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