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Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
765 F.3d 981 (2014)


Facts

FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. classified its delivery drivers as independent contractors. FedEx signed an operating agreement with each driver, generally governing the parties’ relationship. Generally, the agreement stated the business goals of the parties and that “the manner and means of reaching” those goals were within the driver’s discretion. The agreement provided that drivers would work between 9.5 and 11 hours per day but did not prescribe which hours drivers were required to work, as long as the packages were delivered within times specified by customers. Further, the agreement stated that drivers should take routes that would minimize time and expense and maximize profit, but permitted the drivers to choose their own routes. The agreement required the drivers to meet FedEx’s standards of customer service. A driver’s manager was permitted to conduct ride-alongs to monitor the driver’s performance and take notes on service details, including whether the driver “[p]laces [his or her] keys on [the] pinky finger of [his or her] non-writing hand” after locking the vehicle. FedEx required its drivers to use their own vehicles, but the vehicles had to be painted in FedEx colors, contain the FedEx logo, and meet certain other FedEx specifications. Drivers were required to pay for the maintenance of their vehicles. FedEx provided drivers with a FedEx uniform and scanners necessary to complete deliveries, but deducted the costs of such equipment from drivers’ pay. Finally, drivers were required to be clean-shaven and generally in good, professional appearance.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)

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