Delivery drivers for the Patriot Ledger newspaper are employees of GateHouse Media, not independent contractors, the state Appeals Court ruled Tuesday, a decision that could affect other GateHouse drivers but likely won’t have a major impact on an industry that has largely outsourced its delivery services.
The lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit, David King, who delivered newspapers for the Quincy publication from 2009 to 2011, and passed away last fall, claimed he was an employee under Massachusetts law. The state has a strict definition of what constitutes an independent contractor, including that a worker’s job falls “outside the usual course of the business of the employer.”
In its decision, the Appeals Court cites GateHouse’s description of itself as a “newspaper publisher and distributor” in its agreements with delivery drivers, as well as the fact that GateHouse deals directly with drivers and the subscribers they deliver to. Therefore, the court ruled, carriers “furnish services in the ordinary course of GateHouse’s business and accordingly are GateHouse employees.”
As employees, drivers would be eligible for benefits and workplace protections that independent contractors don’t receive.
Read the full story at Patriot Ledger delivery drivers ruled employees, not contractors – The Boston Globe