Contractor 'acknowledgment form' can't dictate employment status
Lisa Burden | February 21, 2019
A signed independent contractor acknowledgement form wasn't enough for an employer to overcome a delivery driver's claims that he was in fact an employee, a federal district court held. Steve Nemo, after being fired by RR Donnelley Logistics Services, alleged in a lawsuit that the company terminated him because of his race, gender and age, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The company asked the court to dismiss his claims, as those laws apply only to employees and Nemo had agreed to independent contractor status, accepting responsibilities for his fuel, equipment and tool expenses. Nemo, however, provided evidence that he was assigned delivery routes and had to use specific software on his phone. The agreement is relevant, the court said, but only tells part of the story. Under the controlling 11th Circuit's Title VII "economic realities" test, a reasonable jury could find that Nemo was an employee, the court said, refusing to dismiss his claims.