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RV-delivery driver rightly qualified for unemployment, COA affirms

October 31, 2017

A woman who provided “driveaway” services delivering recreational vehicles from manufacturers to dealerships was rightly classified as an employee entitled to unemployment insurance after her job ended, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The panel affirmed a ruling against an unnamed company that matches drivers with manufacturers for delivery of RVs. The company appealed a liability administrative law judge’s ruling in the company’s tax protest. The LALJ determined the driver had been an employee for purposes of Indiana's unemployment compensation act, and that operation of the act was not pre-empted by the Federal Aviation Administration and Authorization Act.

The COA agreed Tuesday in Company v. Indiana Department of Workforce Development, 93A02-1703-EX-650. The company could not prove the driver was performing work outside the company’s usual course of business, which the court found to be dispositive on the question of whether the driver was an employee.

Further, the panel held that because the company failed to establish that the unemployment act would have a substantial impact on prices it charges its customers, operation of the act is not pre-empted by the FAAAA.

“We conclude that the LALJ’s determination that Claimant was an employee of Company when she performed services for them is reasonable," Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the panel. "We also conclude that operation of the Act in this case is not preempted by the FAAAA. Consequently, we affirm the determination of the LALJ."

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