17. Employee Status

Roadway Package Systems v Storey – 17.25

Roadway Package Systems v Storey
Digest No. 17.25

Section 421.42(1) and (5), and 421.44(1)

Cite as: Roadway Package Systems, Inc v Storey, unpublished opinion of the Wayne County Circuit Court, issued July 27, 2006 (Docket No. 05-535515-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Craig Storey
Employer: Roadway Package Systems, Inc.
Date of decision: July 27, 2006

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HOLDING: A claimant who owns his own truck and delivers packages for an employer is still considered an employee when the employer exercises a significant level of control over the claimant’s actions.

FACTS:  Claimant worked as a truck driver delivering packages for the employer. The contract between the parties required Claimant to provide daily delivery service for a period of three years, to pick up and deliver packages on dates and times compatible with the schedules and requirements of the employer’s customers, to provide proof of timely maintenance and inspection of his truck, to use his truck exclusively for delivering RPS packages, to identify his truck with RPS logos to identify the truck as part of the RPS system, to wear the RPS approved uniform, and to permit RPS personnel to ride along.

DECISION: The Circuit Court affirmed the Board of Review decision that Claimant was an employee. Claimant is not disqualified from receiving benefits.

RATIONALE:  The Board of Review applied the “economic reality” test and found that due to the nature of the relationship between the parties and the level of control exerted by the employer, Claimant was an employee. The Board of Review distinguished this from other cases where claimants who own their own vehicles were considered independent contractors by stating that in those cases the determinative factor was that the claimants also drove for other employers. In the current case, Claimant was precluded from driving for anyone else and was required to wear a uniform and outfit his truck as an RPS truck.

The Circuit Court affirmed the Board of Review decision. The Circuit Court disagreed with the argument put forth by RPS that the Board of Review has misapplied the legal precedent. In addition, the Circuit Court held that the fact that Claimant owned the truck is not determinative since he had to outfit the truck to very specific specifications put forth by RPS.

Digest author: Andrea M. Frailey, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: November 4, 2017

17. Employee Status

Edward C Levy Co v MESC – 17.03

Edward C Levy Co v MESC
Digest no. 17.03

Section 42

Cite as: Edward C Levy Co v MESC, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued January 22, 1979 (Docket No. 78-1550).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Willie Dubose
Employer: Edward C. Levy Company
Docket no.: B75 12933 52171
Date of decision: January 22, 1979

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where a truck owner-operator works almost exclusively for one company the claimant is an employee, even where the claimant considered himself or herself an independent contractor.

FACTS: The claimant, a truck owner-operator, considered himself an independent contractor. He worked for the Edward C. Levy Co. from 1962 to 1974. The claimant only performed services for other companies when Levy had no work for him.

DECISION: The claimant was an employee, and not an independent contractor.

RATIONALE: “There is little doubt that Mr. Dubose considered himself an independent contractor. However, his belief as to his status is not determinative. The Michigan Employment Security Act defines an employee, in part, as:

‘ … [A]n individual who by lease, contract, or arrangement places at the disposal of a person, firm, or corporation a piece of motor vehicle equipment and under a contract of hire, which provides for the individual’s control and direction, is engaged by the person, firm, or corporation to operate the motor vehicle equipment shall be deemed to be employment subject to this Act.’ MCL 421.42; MSA 17.545. Mr. Dubose certainly placed his trucks at plaintiff’s disposal and then operated them under the direction and control of plaintiff. It is true that plaintiff did not exercise direct day-to-day control over Mr. Dubose’s operation, but it did control the overall direction of Mr. Dubose’s employment situation.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: