On April 28, 2022, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that pizza delivery drivers who use their own cars to make deliveries are entitled to be reimbursed at the IRS standard business mileage rate, which is currently $.585 per mile.
As many of you are aware, the attorneys at Biller & Kimble, LLC have spent the last six years fighting against the pizza industry on behalf of our minimum wage delivery driver clients.
The basic premise of our cases is that when a pizza company requires their drivers to provide cars to use while making the company’s deliveries, the company must fully reimburse for those expenses, or else a minimum wage violation is triggered.
Everyone involved—the drivers and the companies—agree that the drivers must be reimbursed something for these expenses. The dispute is over how much the drivers must receive in reimbursement.
The pizza industry claims that the law allows them to “reasonably approximate” the drivers’ expenses and still meet the minimum wage requirements. As a result, pizza companies around the country reimburse drivers very small amounts—usually about $.25 or $.35 per mile—and claim that these payments “reasonably approximate” the drivers’ expenses, no matter what expenses the drivers have covered.
Our firm has argued in federal courts across the country that this standard gives an unfair advantage to the pizza industry and short-changes the drivers. Basically, the pizza companies get to pay whatever reimbursement rate they want, and the only way for the workers to challenge it is to file a lawsuit.
Instead of paying a “reasonable approximate” amount, our firm argues that companies must either (1) keep records of all of the drivers’ auto expenses and reimburse for them, or (2) reimburse at the IRS standard business mileage rate (currently $.585 per mile).
On April 28, another federal district judge, the Honorable Janet T. Neff, agreed with us. She held that pizza industry employers who do not keep records of their delivery drivers’ actual automobile expenses must reimburse the drivers at the IRS standard business mileage rate.
In adopting the IRS rate and rejecting the “reasonably approximation” approach, the court held:
“The reasonably approximate standard is not defined and has no discernable limits. It is more than simply vague. Telling a company to reimburse a delivery driver a ‘reasonably approximate’ amount for vehicle expenses amounts to no standard at all.”
Today, we celebrate a fantastic victory. Tomorrow, the fight continues.
If you are a delivery driver who would like to learn more about your right to be reimbursed for vehicle expenses, contact our firm at 513-202-0710 or complete the form below for a free, confidential consultation.
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ADVERTISING ONLY: The information on this blog 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.