FedEx is a global delivery service, based in the United States, that employs more than 400,000 people worldwide. To meet customer demands, the company operates 20 major distribution centers across the U.S., including locations in Houston, Dallas, Laredo, El Paso, and McAllen. The many thousands of men and women who drive FedEx trucks, work in shipping facilities, and keep packages moving often perform duties that take a toll on their bodies or put them at risk for injury.
While most workers rely on workers’ compensation and other benefit plans through their employer when they are hurt at work, some FedEx employees have trouble getting the help they need from their employer. Whether it’s due to their employee status or another issue, getting hurt while working for FedEx can be a confusing and difficult time for workers.
Are FedEx drivers entitled to workers’ compensation and Texas FedEx employee benefits?
Workers’ compensation laws vary by state, but many FedEx employees in Texas are covered by workers’ compensation insurance through the company. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easy to take advantage of those benefits. Some legitimate claims are initially denied by the employer, and some employees have trouble meeting the proof and reporting requirements for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, ill or injured employees also say they have been harassed or threatened with termination. If you’re unsure about how FedEx might cover you if you are hurt at work, you should take the time to educate yourself about your legal rights and the kinds of steps you are required to take.
FedEx Ground drivers and independent contractors
FedEx Ground drivers may not be entitled to FedEx employee benefits. According to an article in the New York Times, FedEx workers who are not classified as “employees” may be told that they cannot file workers’ compensation claims at all for their injuries at work. The article explains that FedEx Ground may have engaged in tax fraud by labeling its drivers “independent contractors” while requiring them to adhere to corporate practices that should legally classify them as employees.
FedEx Ground has recruited drivers with ad campaigns claiming that drivers can earn $60,000 to $80,000 a year by working for themselves. What they don’t mention is that, by employing drivers as “independent contractors,” drivers must pay all their own driving costs: insurance, fuel, tires, maintenance, and of course, the truck itself. After these costs are subtracted, a driver’s net pay is close to just $30,000.
The delivery giant saves nearly $400 million a year by denying drivers employee status, including neglecting to pay drivers when they are hurt at work. FedEx Ground has also fought against driver unions, since it believes its 15,000 “independent” drivers have no right to form a labor organization.
There have been over 30 FedEx Ground driver lawsuits arguing that drivers are not independent; they are employees of the company since they must follow FedEx schedules, company policies, time-off request rules, and even uniform codes. In one case, a judge ruled that FedEx Ground’s policy toward its drivers was “an elaborate ruse” since FedEx “has close to absolute control” over its drivers.
FedEx also sometimes makes use of temporary workers through staffing agencies, especially during the holidays and other busy shipping seasons. Unfortunately, these workers face many layers of complications if they are hurt at work. The staffing agency and FedEx may argue over who is liable for the injury, and there is often confusion over whether workers’ compensation held by one company applies in a situation. If you are a temporary worker, through a staffing agency or otherwise, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney about your rights if you are hurt while on the job.
Get help after you have been hurt at work
No matter how or why you were hurt at work, you probably have a lot of questions about your rights—and you should. After a major injury, companies will take steps to protect themselves from costly liability and incidents that could tarnish their reputation. For injured workers who may not understand their rights or how work-injury laws protect them, it can be an unfair fight, especially when the employer in question is a huge corporation that spans the globe.
Our attorneys have many years of experience helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve after an injury at work. We understand that employers don’t always play fair when workers get hurt, and we help workers understand and defend their rights under the law. For example, learn more about how we helped an independently contracted day laborer recover a $4,000,000.00 settlement after a head injury.
If you need assistance with your FedEx work injury case in Texas that is not covered by workers’ compensation, our attorneys can help. Call VB Attorneys today for a free case review, or fill out our online contact form for a prompt response to your questions.