Casey’s General Store denies allegations that the company’s pizza delivery drivers are being shortchanged on their wages.
The company, which operates about 2,300 stores in 16 states, including Missouri, reportedly pays its drivers a flat rate of $2 per delivery, but does not track drivers’ actual vehicle expenses or attempt to reimburse drivers. gasoline and other specific related expenses. using their car.
According to a lawsuit filed last fall in federal court on behalf of the drivers, the lump sum payment plan strips drivers of Casey’s at a rate of 23 cents per mile – a calculation based on a $2 payment for rides. delivery which tend to average six miles. The payment amounts to 33 cents per mile, or 23 cents less than the IRS’ standard mileage rate of 56 cents per mile, according to the lawsuit.
Assuming that Casey’s drivers make an average of three six-mile deliveries per hour, they actually “reimburse” their employer $4.14 per hour out of their own earnings ($1.38 per delivery, multiplied by three deliveries per hour), depending on the process.
The drivers’ hourly wage is roughly equal to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to the lawsuit, and so the effect of the “bribe” is that the drivers’ take-home pay is significantly below minimum wage.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jolene Greever of Davis County, a Casey delivery driver who has worked for the company since 2019, and all other company employees in the same situation.
In recent court filings, Casey’s has denied any wrongdoing and said plaintiff’s claims are, at least in part, statute barred.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the statute of limitations for claiming unpaid wages is two years, unless there is evidence of a willful violation of the law, in which case the statute of limitations is three years. In this case, Casey’s argues that any breach was an honest mistake and therefore the applicable statute of limitations is two years.
The company also takes issue with the plaintiff’s efforts to make the lawsuit a class action that could be sued on behalf of multiple drivers, arguing that the company’s drivers are “not in the same situation with respect to each other” in meaning that each of their potential claims are expected to be different.
A judge has yet to rule on these issues.
Papa John’s, Domino’s and others face similar claims
A similar lawsuit was filed last fall alleging that Iowa delivery drivers working for Domino’s Pizza were effectively earning 35 cents an hour because the company does not fairly compensate workers for the use of their own vehicles.
This case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff even before Domino’s filed a response to the claim. The case was dismissed without prejudice, allowing the lawsuit to be refiled at some point.
Similar lawsuits have recently been filed in other US jurisdictions, including New Jersey, New York and Washington State.
In 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed against a Papa John’s franchise in Iowa that alleged the company’s drivers received unreasonable reimbursement for vehicle expenses, while being required to pay for their work uniforms.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Brandon Tegtmeier, a delivery driver at a Papa John’s restaurant in Davenport, alleged the franchise was paying drivers $5.50 an hour as “tipped employees,” even though they regularly performed non-tipping tasks such as cleaning, answering calls, and preparing pizza orders.
After two years of litigation, this case was settled out of court, with the terms of the agreement kept confidential at the insistence of all parties.
Successfully arguing for the terms of the agreement to be kept secret from the court, lawyers for the drivers and Papa John’s told the judge in the case that confidentiality “served the compelling public interest of promoting resolution at settlement of disputes and approval of settlement is necessary to allow final resolution of this matter.This is not a matter that involves information of significant public interest.
In court filings, they acknowledged that confidentiality would “prevent harm” to Papa John’s reputation “by ensuring that employees and others who are not fully informed of the settlement do not mistakenly perceive this settlement as an admission of responsibility”.
Last fall, a law firm seeking to represent up to 5,000 delivery drivers won conditional approval for a class action in a lawsuit against a Domino’s Pizza franchise. The defendant in that case, known as STA management, was at one time one of the largest Domino’s franchises in the United States, with more than 50 locations in Michigan and Indiana.
In 2020, a federal judge approved a $650,000 settlement package in a Michigan class action settlement that involved 10 different Hungry Howie franchises. The delivery drivers in that case were reportedly reimbursed as little as 10 cents per mile. The settlement in this case covered more than 400 drivers who shared a portion of the $650,000 settlement based on the number of kilometers driven.
Originally published by the Iowa Capital Dispatch.