On August 17, 2021, a federal judge in Denver approved a $1.8 million class action settlement of claims for unpaid vehicle expenses asserted by delivery drivers employed at JARINC, Ltd., a Domino’s Pizza franchise in Colorado.
The drivers alleged that the company failed to pay them minimum wage because they did not fully reimburse the drivers for the vehicle costs they incurred while delivering pizzas.
Instead of paying the drivers at the IRS standard business mileage rate ($.56 per mile), the company reimbursed the drivers either a set amount for each delivery or a percentage of the order being delivered. As a result, the drivers’ lawsuit alleged that they received less than half of the IRS rate for each mile they drove.
Unfortunately, the employment practices challenged in this lawsuit are very common in the pizza industry. Pizza companies all across the country require their minimum wage delivery drivers to provide a car to use while making deliveries. Because these expenses benefit the company, the company is not allowed to pass them off on their workers unless they fully reimburse the workers for the expenses. But employers often pass the costs to the workers anyway.
Biller & Kimble has successfully argued that pizza industry employers are required to reimburse delivery drivers in one of two ways: (1) they can collect records of the drivers’ actual expenses and reimburse for those actual expenses or (2) they can reimburse at the IRS standard business mileage rate, which is currently $.56 per mile.
In this case, the court disagreed with our argument and evaluated the case under a “reasonable approximation” standard, meaning the company could prove that they complied with the minimum wage laws as long as they could show they “reasonably approximated” the drivers’ vehicle expenses. Notably, despite the court adopting the industry-friendly “approximation” standard, the company still agreed to settle the case for $1.8 million.
The settlement fund will be shared by the drivers who have worked at the 10 Domino’s stores owned and operated by JARINC since 2015. Settlement checks will be mailed to the drivers by September 27, 2021.
This case is one of over a dozen class action lawsuits that Biller & Kimble have successfully settled on behalf of pizza delivery drivers. To learn more about those settlements, visit our Victories page: https://www.billerkimble.com/victories
If you are a pizza delivery driver who drives their own car to make deliveries, contact our office by filling out the form below. A member of our team will contact you to conduct a free, confidential consultation to determine if we are able to represent you.
If we think you might have a case, we will represent you on a contingency basis, meaning you will not have to pay a dime out of your own pocket unless we receive money for you through a judgment or settlement. Our office will advance all costs associated with the case and we will not get paid for the time we spend on the case unless you win.
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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.