FedEx fails to deliver for drivers - Huffington Post You might think it's easy to know the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. It's not. The distinction sits in a stubbornly murky corner of the law, and workers, employers and governments have a lot riding on the outcome. Meanwhile the number of people who are working but not considered employees continues to grow. Employees are eligible for a host of legal benefit and protection programs that governments run and regulate. Employers must pay into those programs on behalf of "employees," but not "independent contractors." The murkiness comes in when someone calls a worker's status into question, often when a worker and employer disagree over what benefits are due. There is not one single, legal definition for "employee" or one central government agency that decides a worker's status. Different federal agencies regulate different aspects of employment, and often apply distinct tests to make the decision. State agencies may use other measures still. A FedEx spokeswoman says the company stands by its independent contractor model because it "gives us a flexibility to be competitive in the market." It's a flexibility FedEx has gone to great lengths to keep.