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Freight driver probably an employee,
not an independent contractor

Brant v. Schneider National (7th Cir 08/03/2022)
Sent to Custom Alerts™ subscribers on 08/04/2022

Brant, a freight driver, sued Schneider National under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), alleging he was actually an "employee" under the FLSA, and had been misclassified as an independent contractor.

The trial court granted Schneider's motion to dismiss on the pleadings; the 7th Circuit reversed and remanded.

The primary point in this case was that the trial court incorrectly relied on the terms of Schneider's contracts with Brant to determine the employment relationship instead of the six-factor economic realities test under the FLSA.

The court said: "The FLSA is designed to defeat rather than implement contractual arrangements."

Under the economic realities test, Brant stated a viable claim that he was an employee and not an independent contractor under the FLSA. The court said, "Brant alleges facts allowing the plausible inference that he was so controlled by and dependent on Schneider that he must be considered an employee as a matter of economic reality."

Brandt alleged that Schneider imposed detailed control over his conduct at work and enforced that control by monitoring his operations.

Brandt also alleged he was dependent on Schneider to make a profit or loss, and that he was totally reliant on Schneider's credit to operate.

Additionally, Brandt hauled shipments for Schneider in the same way as the company's employee-drivers, indicating he was an integral part of the employer's business.

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