Delivery Drivers Misclassified as Independent Contractors

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has ruled that RXO delivery drivers were misclassified as independent contractors under the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute, G.L. c. 149, § 148B, entitling them to recover unlawful deductions taken from their pay.

United States District Court of Massachusetts

SUMMARY: (court decision – opens in PDF)

“Plaintiffs Justin Muniz, Mohammed Belaabd, Jose Dilone, and Victor Amora bring this action on behalf of a certified class against defendant RXO Last Mile, Inc. (‘RXO’). The plaintiffs are delivery drivers who contracted with RXO, a federally authorized freight forwarder, to deliver appliances and other large consumers goods for RXO’s retail clients. The plaintiffs allege that RXO misclassified them as independent contractors and unlawfully deducted wages from their pay in violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act. M.G.L.c. 149, §§148 and 150. The plaintiffs move for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether they were misclassified as independent contractors under the test laid out in Section 148B (‘148B’). …

“Drawing all reasonable inferences in its favor, the defendant has not presented sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue for trial. … Here, though there is some dispute about the exact requirements, plaintiffs must drive box trucks. They are circumscribed in how they deliver the products. They are subject to a dress code. They have no control over their customer base. Helpers are prescreened. They are monitored by RXO before, during, and after deliveries. Indeed, the only aspects of their work [delivery service providers (DSPs)] had control over were the aspects that a typical employer would like to relinquish: paying and training additional employees and maintaining tools and equipment. Under Chapter 148B, RXO cannot relinquish ‘control’ over these costs, retain control over all other aspects of employment, and receive the unfair ‘windfall’ that results from ‘avoid[ing] their statutory obligations, shift[ing] financial burdens to state and federal governments, and [gaining] an unfair advantage in the marketplace.’ …”



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