Menards, a large home-improvement retail chain based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is the target of a federal complaint by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accusing the superstore of misclassifying delivery drivers as independent contractors. Independent contractors do not enjoy the same workplace protections as employees, and would not, for example, be able to claim workers' compensation benefits after being injured on the job.
An administrative hearing is scheduled for April 4 in Minneapolis.
Menards plans to push back against the complaint, citing its ongoing relationship with multiple delivery contractors, including FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service. The complaint, however, is targeted specifically at the approximately three to four drivers assigned to each store who make deliveries to people's homes. There are approximately 280 Menards stores, which would put the number of drivers who are potentially misclassified as independent contractors at several hundred to over a thousand.
Classifying workers as independent contractors who should be employees would indeed "save big money" for Menards, in workers' compensation insurance costs as well as other expenses like overtime and minimum wage costs. At issue in this conflict is the question of whether Menards exercised enough control over the work of the drivers where they should have been classified as employees.
If you work at Menards, as a driver or in any other capacity, and have had difficulty securing workers' compensation benefits, make sure to get the legal help you need and contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney in your area.