Pharmaceutical company settles driver wage suit for $7.5M

August 29, 2019

Tyson Fisher


A 6-year-old wage lawsuit between delivery drivers and a healthcare company has finally reached an end as the company agreed to settle for $7.5 million.

According to federal court documents from the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York, Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health Inc., settled a lawsuit originally filed by company drivers in September 2013 for $7.5 million.

More than 100 drivers in the class action lawsuit accused Cardinal Health, which at the time was Kinray Inc., of not paying drivers overtime wages.

Representing the class plaintiffs, Freddy Fernandez was hired by Kinray as a driver in 1996 and made deliveries for the company for nearly two decades. Kinray was bought by Cardinal Health in December 2010. It was the largest privately-owned pharmaceutical wholesaler/distributor in the world. Kinray served more than 4,000 pharmacies in the Northeast, with annual revenues of more than $5 billion.

According to the lawsuit, Fernandez was required to report to Kinray’s warehouse at 4 a.m. every morning, Monday through Friday. Fernandez worked until noon during those morning routes. For the afternoon route, Fernandez worked 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. In addition to his weekday routes, the lawsuit claims Fernandez worked from 6 a.m. to midnight every Saturday beginning September 2007.

Fernandez claims that he worked more than 80 hours per week every week of his employment. However, Kinray/Cardinal Health allegedly failed to pay him time-and-a-half for the 30 or more weekly overtime hours he worked. Several other named plaintiffs allege similar work hours. Hired dates go as far back as 1985.

  • Drivers were hired as independent contractors. However, the lawsuit points out that:
  • Drivers were required to report to the warehouse at precise times.
  • Kinray/Cardinal Health established routes and issued drivers written manifests specifying every detail of each stop, disabling drivers to make own decisions regarding routes.
  • Drivers were disciplined for tardy arrivals at the warehouse or for deviating from established routes.
  • Kinray/Cardinal Health prohibited drivers from opportunities for profit or loss.
  • Drivers were prohibited from dealing directly with customers to independently offer their delivery services.
  • Drivers worked daily, full-time for Kinray/Cardinal Health.

Kinray/Cardinal Health deducted wages for broken, lost or stolen merchandise even when it recouped these losses from insurance carriers.

Accordingly, drivers claim they were misclassified as independent contractors. The lawsuit invokes both federal and New York state wage laws to recoup lost overtime wages. Additionally, several of the named plaintiffs were fired from Cardinal Health less than a month after the lawsuit was filed. Both federal and New York state law protects workers from such retaliation.

On Aug. 13, attorneys for both parties submitted a settlement agreement to be approved by the court. Cardinal Health agreed to pay $7.5 million. According to court documents, the minimum payment for an individual is $2,500.

Pharmaceutical company settles driver wage suit for $7.5M
A 6-year-old wage lawsuit between delivery drivers and a healthcare company has finally reached an end. The company agreed to settle for $7.5 million.

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.