Delivery Drivers Sue Donatos Pizzeria

On June 22, 2016, Kimble Law, LLC filed a complaint on behalf of a Columbus-area delivery driver, alleging that Donatos Pizzeria, LLC has failed to pay him adequately under state and federal law.  The plaintiff seeks to represent a class of pizza delivery drivers at all of Donatos’ 150+ restaurants, who he believes are being subjected to the same pay policies.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that he is paid minimum wage, but is not adequately reimbursed for the considerable expenses he incurs while making deliveries for the regional pizza favorite: gasoline, car insurance, and auto repairs, among other expenses. The plaintiff alleges that, by requiring he and other delivery drivers to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket, Donatos has effectively denied them minimum wage and overtime.

See the Class Action Complaint, filed June 22, 2016: Hassan v. Donatos Pizzeria, LLC.

If you work or worked as a pizza delivery driver at Donatos or elsewhere, call Kimble Law for a free consultation at 614-983-0361, or fill out the case information form below.

 

UBER REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH DRIVERS, PENDING COURT APPROVAL

UBER has agreed to pay $100 million to resolve two wage and hour class actions pending in California and Massachusetts, but their drivers will remain independent contractors.  The class action settlement must first be approved by Judge Edward Chen of the District Court of Northern California before it becomes final.

Despite the hefty price tag, if there is a winner in this settlement, it is most likely UBER.  The ride-sharing giant valued at over $60 billion dollars can easily part with the $100 million.  In addition, they have also agreed to some non-monetary concessions – drivers will be given more information about rider feedback, more advanced notice before they are terminated, and an opportunity to appeal termination decisions.  Drivers will also be permitted to encourage – but not require – tips from riders.  Finally, UBER will assist drivers in forming “Driver’s Associations,” however those associations will not have the authority to collectively bargain on behalf of drivers.

Despite all they are agreeing to give up, UBER’s CEO is still “so pleased” with this settlement because it allows the company to continue classifying its drivers as independent contractors, not employees.  Such a classification allows UBER to avoid providing benefits such as minimum wage and overtime guarantees, health insurance, payroll taxes, and unemployment compensation, to name a few.  For more details on the implications of independent contractor status, click here.

Even if the settlement is approved, however, the debate over drivers’ (and other “gig” workers’) classification will continue.  This settlement simply kicks the can down the road.  As the nature of work changes, and the cost of actual “employees” continues to rise, it is a question that courts and legislatures will eventually have to answer.

If you are denied benefits because you are misclassified as an independent contractor, contact Kimble Law today.

NLRB’s Definition of “Employer” Could Have Wide-Ranging Effects

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By Andrew Kimble

On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board redefined “joint employers” in a way that will impact the rights of workers in a broad range of industries.

The case addressed whether a waste management firm, Browning-Ferris, should be held responsible for labor violations committed by their contractors.  The NLRB concluded that Browing-Ferris was a “joint employer” of their contractors’ employees, because the two companies “share or co-determine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment.”  As a result, both joint employers could be required to collectively bargain with the contracted employees, and were responsible for their contractor’s labor practices.

This is a notable departure from previous rulings, where the NLRB held that companies were responsible only for those working under their direct control.  But on Thursday, the Board said that the old standard was “increasingly out of step with changing economic circumstances.”  The decision comes in response to the growing trend in the U.S. for companies to employ temporary workers and contract workers through staffing agencies or other third parties.  This arrangement allows large companies to disclaim responsibility for the conditions of employment while leaving employees in limbo between the company that is listed on their paycheck and the company that directs their work.

Two dissenting NLRB appointees railed against the decision, saying it “dramatic implications” on labor relations policy and its effect on the economy.  Exactly what effect it will have is to be determined, but business groups are concerned that the franchisor-franchisee relationship is in danger.  While the decision does not address franchises, its logic can easily be extended to such arrangements.  If it is, franchisors will have increased responsibility in a broad range of industries, including hotels and hospitality, restaurants and fast food chains, manufacturers, construction firms, retail workers, and staffing agencies.

If you are an independent contractor, work for a staffing agency, or your work is subject to the control of two or more companies, you should contact an employment attorney to better understand your rights.  Call Kimble Law Office today for a free consultation.