Delivery Drivers: How Employers Cheat Them Out Of Wages
Delivery drivers are common victims of wage theft in our economy. Many drivers are misclassified as “independent contractors” and not paid all of the wages that they are entitled to receive. Others do not receive all overtime wages that are owed. Others are the victims of illegal deductions or chargebacks. The following is a description of some of the more common ways that delivery drivers are deprived of wages.
Employers must pay all of their employees overtime wages when they work more than forty (40) hours in a week. When a company pays delivery drivers a fixed rate for deliveries, they sometimes violate overtime laws. In such cases, the drivers should receive one and one half times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked over forty per week. Some employers try to avoid this obligation by classifying their employees as “independent contractors.” Delivery drivers are frequently the victims of such a ploy.
Employers also sometimes make illegal deductions from delivery drivers’ pay for things like insurance, worker’s compensation, “customer complaint fees,” or breakage. In some states, like Massachusetts, it is illegal for companies to require delivery drivers employees to pay out-of-pocket for gas, vehicle maintenance, and cell phone data usage to carry out delivery work.
Whether you deliver pizza, flowers, medical supplies, food, packages, produce, or any other of the various commodities offered for delivery in Connecticut or Massachusetts, the company employing you owes you a duty of fair treatment and compensation. If the company you perform deliveries for classifies you as an independent contractor instead of as an employee when you have little or no independent control or business of your own, they have violated this duty – as well as a number of federal and state laws.
The reason for incorrect classification is simple: employers want to avoid paying you all wages owed and want to continue to make illegal deductions from your pay. Determining your relationship to your employer as a Connecticut or Massachusetts delivery driver can be complicated, but a skilled and experienced wage and hour employment law attorney can sort out the appropriate classification and seek civil justice when necessary.
Connecticut and Massachusetts Wage and Hour Lawyer for Delivery Drivers
Many delivery drivers in the state of Connecticut and Massachusetts are, in fact, independent contractors. However, there are also many companies who have delivery drivers in their employ who wrongly classify them as independent contractors when they are actually employees. If you’re a delivery driver in Hartford, Milford, Bristol, New Haven, Bridgeport, or elsewhere in Connecticut or in Springfield, Holyoke, Greenfield, Northampton, Worcester, Boston, or elsewhere in Massachusetts and have questions about whether you may be owed wages, contact Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore now.
Examples of companies who classify their delivery drivers as independent contractors are:
- Amazon Common Carrier’s such as;
- DHL Express
- ABF Freight System, Inc.
- CEVA Logistics
- DB Schenker
- ECMS Express
- Fastway Couriers
- Innovel Solutions
- Landmark Global
- Lone Star Overnight
- Menlo Worldwide Logistics
- Pitney Bowes
- TForce Final Mile
- XPO Logistics
- Amazon Flex;
- Uber Eats;
- TaskRabbit; and
With over two decades of combined experience, the skilled and dedicated employment law attorneys at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore know how companies try to reclassify employees, including delivery drivers, as independent contractors to save money and liability. They can help you prove your classification as an employee and fight for the civil justice you deserve under the law. For a review of your Connecticut or Massachusetts delivery driver wage and hour claim by our experienced employment lawyers, fill out and submit our confidential online contact form today.
Testing Employee Status vs. Independent Contractor Status in Connecticut and Massachusetts
When you were hired on as a delivery driver for your Connecticut or Massachusetts employer, you may have signed an agreement stating you were an independent contractor and not an employee of the company. However, your company is not the entity that determines whether or not you are classed as an independent contractor or an employee. That is determined by the federal government or state law, but state law is stronger.
This is an important designation to be made, because while delivery drivers who are classed as employees of the company receive things like benefits and overtime, as well as certain federal and state legal protections, independent contractors do not. This is because a delivery driver in Connecticut or Massachusetts who is classified as an independent contractor is considered to have his or her own business.
There is a simple, three-point test under Connecticut law to determine if a person is an employee:
- The extent to which the alleged employer has control of the work (the more control, the more likely a person is to be an employee);
- The work is either off-site or not an integral part of the alleged employer’s business (delivery companies frequently fail this point with delivery drivers, since their main business is delivering); and
- Whether the employee/independent contractor is independently established (if not, then more likely to be an employee).
The test in Massachusetts is similar although there is no exclusion for workers who work “off-site.”
It may be difficult to properly determine your employment class due to your duties as a delivery driver and the complexities of employment law. If you believe you have a claim against your employer for being improperly classed, the services of an experienced Hartford and Springfield wage and hour employment law attorney are highly recommended.
Connecticut and Massachusetts Delivery Drivers as Employees
No matter if it’s done intentionally or mistakenly, misclassifying a delivery driver as an independent contractor instead of an employee is against the law. In addition to depriving the delivery driver of important benefits like health insurance, paid vacation, life insurance, stock options, and retirement plans, the company is evading tax law, unemployment insurance, minimum wage law, overtime law, income tax laws, and other important legal employment obligations.
As a delivery driver, your company may argue that since you operate out of a vehicle you own, you are an independent contractor and don’t qualify for these benefits or protections under FSLA. However, that is only one factor contributing to employment status. Chances are, if your work generally follows the path of a normal employee, you deserve classification as an employee, even as a delivery driver. For instance, in the cased of Campos v. Zopounidis in Connecticut District Court, the court ruled that the pizza delivery driver was an employee and not an independent contractor of the restaurant due to the following:
- The pizza restaurant’s owner set the delivery driver’s schedule and assigned his routes
- The pizza delivery driver had no discretion in his duties, nor did he provide delivery services for any other company
- The only investment the pizza delivery driver made in his job was his own vehicle
- No special skills were required to perform the job
Classification as an employee or an independent contractor should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and your status is not affected by any contract you sign with the company establishing your classification as an independent contractor. An experienced employment law attorney can help you determine if your services as a delivery driver in Connecticut or Massachusetts makes you an independent contractor or an employee, as well as pursue civil justice when the wrong classification has been assigned.
Employment Attorneys for Connecticut and Massachusetts Delivery Drivers
If you are a delivery driver in Hartford, Manchester, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bristol, Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport, New London, Stamford, Meriden, Middletown, or elsewhere in Connecticut; or in Springfield, West Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, Northampton, Greenfield, Worcester or elsewhere in Massachusetts; and believe you have been wrongly classified as an independent contractor, Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore may be able to help you seek the overtime pay, insurance, and other benefits you would be owed as an employee. To submit your case for review by the Connecticut and Massachusetts wage and hour employment lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore, fill out our online contact form today.
Delivery Driver Misclassification FAQs
What Is An Independent Contractor?
An independent contractor is someone who works under an employer but is not subjected to how or when the work will be done. The employer can only control or direct the result of the work being done by the independent contractor.
Can I Sue My Employer For Misclassification?
Yes, you can. If you are a delivery driver that has been classified as an independent contractor but should be classified as an employee you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover back pay and other benefits.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Misclassified as an Independent Contractor By a Gig Economy Business?
There are a few options you can take to ensure that your rights are upheld if you have been misclassified as an independent contractor by your employer:
- You can try and speak with your employer and tell them that you believe you have been misclassified as an IC and get reclassified to an employee that way.
- If talking to your employer doesn’t work, you can get a hold of the IRS and have them investigate your misclassification and make a determination.
- Or you can hire a delivery driver employment attorney who will fight for your legal rights and be your advocate. This option will bring immediate credibility to your misclassification claim in the eyes of your employer. An employment attorney will make sure that your rights are protected and that you are compensated fairly.