A pizza delivery driver at a Pizza Hut in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska filed a federal lawsuit against her employer, Grand Mere Restaurant Group, a Pizza Hut franchisee who operates Pizza Hut stores in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri.
Like many other similar cases around the county, the lawsuit alleges that the company enacted and enforced reimbursement policies that resulted in their delivery drivers making less than minimum wage for the hours they work after accounting for expenses.
Federal law prohibits employers from paying employees less than minimum wage, either outright or by improperly shifting costs onto employees.
The lawsuit asserts claims against a number of Defendants that Plaintiff alleges operate Pizza Hut franchises: GMRG ACQ1, LLC d/b/a the Grand Mere Restaurant Group; Michael Cherney; Victor Heutz; Steve McDermott; and Chad Magner.
Plaintiff filed her Motion to Send Notice to Similarly Situated Employees. This Motion asks the Court to authorize a notice be mailed to all of Grand Mere’s pizza delivery drivers informing them of the lawsuit and giving them the opportunity to join the case if they so choose.
Lawsuit filed against Grand Mere Restaurant Group (GMRG ACQ1, LLC)
Palomo v. GMRG ACQ1, LLC, like the many similar pizza delivery driver lawsuits around the country, alleges that the company and its owners under-pay their delivery drivers for the costs the drivers sustain when they use their cars for the company’s purposes, i.e., to make deliveries. Specifically, the drivers claim that the company reimburses a per-mile amount (ex., $0.30/mile) that is not enough to cover the drivers’ vehicle expenses. The plaintiff alleges that this under-reimbursement results in a minimum wage or other wage and hour violation.
Under-reimbursement of Vehicle Expenses
First, the plaintiff alleges 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 Grand Mere Restaurant Group Pizza Hut stores have failed to “reasonably approximate.”
Plaintiff alleges that this practice violates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Nebraska Minimum Wage law, Neb. Rev. Stat. Sec. 48-1201 et seq. and Neb. Rev. Stat. Sec. 48-1228 et seq.
In addition, the plaintiff asserts a claim for unjust enrichment. She alleges that the Grand Mere Restaurant Group Pizza Hut stores unfairly benefit by requiring their minimum wage delivery drivers to cover one of their most costly business expenses without proper reimbursement. The drivers are conferring a benefit on the company, the company is aware of the benefit, and it would be unjust for the company to retain that benefit without commensurate compensation.
If you are a delivery driver who works or who has worked at this or any other pizza company around the country, contact our firm to find out if you might be owed unreimbursed expenses. We can explain the process you can go through to get those expenses back. Give us a call at (513) 428-8689 or fill out the contact form on this website for a free consultation.
ADVERTISING ONLY: The information on this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
Past results obtained by Biller & Kimble, LLC are no guarantee of future results. Each case or matter is different and must be judged on its own merits.