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Transportation Brief: Transportation Worker Exemption from the FAA Requires a “Contract of Employment”

by Braden K. Core, Prasad Sharma

February 2, 2022

Employers have successfully used arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to resolve disputes on an individual basis. Unfortunately for transportation providers, the FAA does not apply to “contracts of employment” of drivers and other transportation workers who are engaged in interstate commerce. But a recent decision from Massachusetts reminds us that if the arbitration provision is not in a “contract of employment,” the FAA may still apply. In Cuneo v. National Delivery Systems, Inc., the plaintiff entered into an agreement with Contractor Management Services (CMS) by which he was paid for delivery work performed for a carrier. The court held plaintiff’s claims against CMS had to be arbitrated under the FAA because his agreement with CMS was not an agreement to perform work, and thus not a “contract of employment.” The case is a useful reminder to consider all the elements of the FAA exemption. And recall - even if the FAA does not apply, arbitration may be available under state law.



Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


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    by Kelli M. Block
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  • Transportation Brief: M&A Considerations for Air and Ocean Forwarders
    by Braden K. Core , Nathaniel G. Saylor
    Freight forwarders that engage in air and ocean moves have become attractive targets for strategic and private-equity-backed acquisitions over the past several years. Buyers should be aware that change-in-control notice and approval processes for these businesses are more complicated when compared to U.S. surface-transportation providers. Read more about scenarios to consider, including but not limited to a few that have the potential to complicate and delay transactions.
  • Transportation Brief: Supreme Court Stays and OSHA Withdraws Vaccine/Testing Mandate
    by A. Jack Finklea , David D. Robinson
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