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Bajco Papa John's Vehicle Expense Reimbursement Dispute

Delivery Drivers
 

Update 05-03-2022

Biller & Kimble filed an individual delivery driver arbitration against Bajco.

Update 04-26-2022

Biller & Kimble filed an individual delivery driver arbitration against Bajco.

Update 04-25-2022

Biller & Kimble filed an individual delivery driver arbitration against Bajco.

Update 04-01-2022

Biller & Kimble filed two individual delivery driver arbitrations against Bajco.

Update 03-23-2022

Biller & Kimble filed an individual delivery driver arbitration against Bajco.

Update 03-21-2022

Biller & Kimble filed an individual delivery driver arbitration against Bajco.

Update 10-19-2021

Shortly after the case was filed, the defendants filed a motion arguing that the delivery drivers who had joined the case were required to pursue their wage claims through individual arbitration. According to the company, each driver had “signed” an arbitration agreement when they clicked through their online onboarding paperwork before starting the job.

We opposed the motion, arguing that the delivery drivers did not even see the arbitration agreement that they allegedly signed unless they went out of their way to see it. We argued that there was no “meeting of the minds” between the drivers and the company.

Despite our arguments, the court ruled that the delivery drivers were required to pursue their claims in individual arbitration. We obviously disagree with this decision, but intend to proceed to arbitration and do our best to recover our clients’ unpaid wages and vehicle expenses through that process.

Read Full Case Details

Case Details

 

The Bajco franchise, which is operated by over a dozen legal entities and individuals, operates Papa John’s stores in Indiana, Illinois, Florida, and elsewhere.

On May 1, 2020, our firm first filed suit against Bajco, in a case called Valesh, et al. v. Bajco International, LLC, et al., No. 4:20-cv-00028.

Since this case was filed, multiple delivery drivers have been required to pursue their claims in arbitration. Our firm currently represents 8 Bajco drivers in individual settlement negotiations or arbitration actions against the company.

If you worked for Bajco and are interested in pursuing unreimbursed expenses, contact us for a free consultation.

This lawsuit and the arbitrations that followed allege that Bajco under-reimburses its delivery drivers for the costs the drivers incur when they use their car for the company’s purposes, i.e., to make deliveries.

Specifically, the drivers claim that the company reimburses at either a per-delivery or per-mile amount that is not enough to cover the drivers’ vehicle expenses. This alleged under-reimbursement results often results in a minimum wage or other wage and hour violation.

 The Claims

 Under-reimbursement of Vehicle Expenses

First, the plaintiff alleged that the company does not properly reimburse for vehicle expenses.

The drivers’ position is that they must be reimbursed at the IRS standard business mileage rate (currently $.585 per mile) when the employer does not collect records of the drivers’ actual expenses and reimburse based on those records.

Even if the company is permitted to reimburse based on an “approximation,” as we expect the defendants will argue, the plaintiff alleges that the Bajco Papa John’s stores have failed to “reasonably approximate.”

 Violation of the Rules for Claiming a Tip Credit

Second, the plaintiff alleged the company failed to properly claim a “tip credit” against the minimum wage because they failed to actually pay the wage rate they promised to pay, after account for under-reimbursement expenses.

In addition to under-reimbursed expenses, the drivers claim they are entitled to the difference between full minimum wage and the “tipped wage rate” the employer claimed to pay, because the employer failed to meet the requirements for taking a tip credit. For example, if a driver was paid $5.00 per hour on the road in a state where minimum wage was $7.25, they would be entitled to $2.25 for each hour worked ($7.25-$5.00=$2.25) in the plaintiff prevails on this claim.