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Eleventh Circuit denies FedEx employees class certification

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Monday denied [opinion, PDF] FedEx Corporation [official website] employees suing over compensation the ability to gain class classification. The court's decision affirmed a decision by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida [official website] that the claims rested too heavily on factual information that was unique to individual members of the suit. The court wrote:

The district court concluded that certification was improper primarily because individualized factual inquiries into whether and how long each employee worked without compensation would swamp any issues that were common to the class. The sole question before this Court is whether the district court abused its discretion in declining to certify the class. We hold that the district court acted within the bounds of its discretion and affirm its decision.

The employees' suit brought claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The employees alleged that FedEx had failed to pay certain non-exempt employees for all work hours worked.

Various FedEx divisions have faced a considerable number of lawsuits from employees in recent years. In 2008, the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that a group of former and current employees met the requirements for filing an age discrimination lawsuit against the company under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) [text]. The unique employment status of the drivers of the Ground and Home Delivery divisions of the company has created considerable backlash. Through various lawsuits [advocacy website] across the country, individuals have attempted to have the courts force FedEx to categorize these individuals as employees rather than independent contractors.

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