Despite Arbitration Clauses, Delivery Drivers Can Still Go to Court for Owed Wages

The latest ruling to come out of the 9th circuit regarding arbitration clauses has been in favor of the worker, more specifically, delivery drivers.  In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a previous 2019 decision that had rejected Amazon’s attempt to force its drivers in their Amazon Flex program to arbitrate their proposed class action that claimed the had been wrongfully classified as independent contractors instead of employees and kept from receiving their rightfully earned wages.

The panel agreed that delivery drivers did not necessarily have to cross state lines to fall under the “transportation worker” category which is considered exempt from arbitration, regardless if arbitration clauses have been signed, under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). The idea behind this argument is that the products being delivered are packaged goods shipped from around the country are delivered to consumers “untransformed”. This in turn causes Amazon Flex drivers to be considered as transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce and exempt from the FAA’s provisions. Other frequent FAA employment exemptions include, but are not limited to, seamen, railroad employees, or any other type of workers that engage in foreign or interstate commerce.

If you are a delivery driver transporting goods in the United States and have concerns about being classified as an independent contractor, you may be owed significant wages. Those working long hours, over forty hours per work week, may be entitled to receive unpaid overtime from the last few years worked and can still pursue their claims in court even if arbitration agreements have been signed. Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP offers a free and confidential phone consultation with one of our available representatives to see if you may have a claim. You can reach us at (212) 300-0375 or you can visit our site here for additional helpful information regarding your rights.