Of the low paid, hourly employees who are susceptible to getting ripped off by their employers through underpayment and refusal to pay for work performed, delivery drivers are one of the most vulnerable groups. They are tipped employees, which means employers can pay them the reduced minimum wage of $2.13 per hour as long as the combination of their tips and wages equals at least the regular minimum wage. If their tips and wages do not add up to the regular minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference with additional wages.
Delivery drivers have an especially hard time making ends meet because, in addition to living expenses, they also generally have to supply their own vehicle in order to make the deliveries. That means car insurance, gas, and the costs of maintaining the vehicle, all of which can add up quickly. As a result, several companies who offer delivery services have been hit with allegations of wage and hour violations by their delivery drivers who claim that, when the costs of maintaining a vehicle to perform the deliveries are taken into account, they earn less than the legally required minimum wage.
One such lawsuit has recently been filed against Domino’s Pizza and two of its Illinois franchisees by a class of current and former delivery drivers who claim they are being paid less than minimum wage. The lead plaintiff in the wage and hour lawsuit, Samantha Young, used to deliver pizzas for a Domino’s location in Willowbrook, and she is seeking to represent a class of delivery drivers who currently work, or have worked, at two multi-location Domino’s franchisees in Illinois: Rolling in the Dough and JWG. According to claims in Young’s complaint, the combination of the delivery drivers’ required expenses for their vehicles, uniforms, and the untipped work they perform in store, all added up until Young and her fellow delivery drivers were allegedly being paid less than minimum wage.
Young claims that Domino’s reimburses its drivers one dollar for every delivery they make within the range of five-to-seven miles, but Young claims the actual expenses of making deliveries that far away are much more than one dollar. She said she included Domino’s as a defendant in the lawsuit because the franchisor allegedly exerts a significant amount of control over its franchisees’ business and employment decisions.
The complaint used the IRS business mileage reimbursement rate (which is 53.5 cents per mile) as an example. Compared to JWG’s reimbursement rate of 21 cents per mile, that leaves a difference of about $3.25 for each mile the drivers traveled on their deliveries. With an average of two and a half deliveries per hour, Young alleges that meant she was essentially paying her employer, $4.06 per hour.
The situation was allegedly worse at the Rolling location, which the lawsuit claims had a slightly larger delivery radius, combined with a smaller reimbursement rate. At that location, the complaint claims delivery drivers were paying their employers a higher average of $5.018 per hour, assuming an average of two deliveries made each hour.
Due to of the rise of online ordering, Young alleges Domino’s encourages franchisees to make delivery drivers work in the store instead of hiring untipped in-store employees. Because the drivers did not receive tips for the in-store work they did but were allegedly still paid the lower minimum wage, that time spent working in store allegedly contributed to the drivers being paid less than minimum wage for the work they performed for Domino’s Pizza.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, DoubleTree, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Extended Stay America, Staybridge Suites, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chili’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Oak Lawn and Naperville. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Elgin, Cicero and Berwyn overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.