Federal Lawsuit Filed against Papa John's Franchisee Ozark Pizza Company, LLC
On May 4, 2021, Biller & Kimble filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of our client, a Papa John’s pizza delivery driver. Our client worked at Ozark Pizza Company, LLC, a Papa John's franchisee, and filed his suit on behalf of all Ozark Pizza delivery drivers. He seeks unpaid minimum wages and under-reimbursed expenses incurred while delivering pizzas. Ozark Pizza operates about 15 Papa John’s Pizza stores in Illinois, and many more across Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
The lawsuit is one of many pizza delivery driver suits filed against Papa John’s franchisees across the country. In these lawsuits, pizza delivery drivers allege that pizza companies under-reimburse them for mileage and vehicle expenses. Some of the suits allege other wage law violations—like paying drivers a tipped wage rate for work done inside the store or requiring drivers to cover the costs of uniforms.
Without delivery drivers, pizza companies would have to purchase their own cars. To save money, these companies require drivers to provide and maintain their own cars as a condition of employment. It’s a great deal for the company, but not for the delivery drivers.
Gas isn’t free. Car parts aren’t free. Lawsuits like this one claim the company’s policy unlawfully shifts its costs of running the business onto employees—taking a “kick back” from their pay.
The Department of Labor Handbook requires that if a company makes their delivery drivers to provide cars to use at work, the company must either:
(1) Reimburse drivers at the IRS mileage rate ($0.56 per mile in 2021), OR
(2) Keep records of the drivers’ actual vehicle expenses and reimburse for those actual expenses.
Just last week, a federal judge agreed with us and granted summary judgment to our clients who work for a Jet’s Pizza franchise in Ohio. Learn more about that decision here.
The lawsuit against Ozark alleges that the company has also run afoul of these requirements. As a result, the plaintiff delivery driver is seeking the full amount of the under-reimbursement per mile at the IRS rate, plus additional damages under federal and state law.
Are you a delivery driver who has been under-reimbursed while making deliveries for Ozark Pizza? You are not alone. You may be owed back wages and additional damages under federal and state law. Contact Biller & Kimble for a free consultation by completing the form below or calling us at 513-202-0710.
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.