Mass. meal delivery companies agree to settlements

Nick Rees Feb. 1, 2010, 3:12pm

Martha Coakley (D)

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Settlement agreements have been reached by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley with four restaurant meal delivery companies.

The settlements resolve allegations of drivers who were misclassified by the companies as independent contractors in violation of Massachusetts law.

Under the agreements, Michael Hackel and the Brighton-based Dining-In Inc. Kevin Abt and the Stoughton-based Restaurants to You, Philip Dumontet the Boston-based Dash Deliveries LLC, and Todor Ialamov and the Cambridge-based Mix Menu Inc., have all agreed to comply fully with all Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws, specifically the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Statute.

A review of each of the meal delivery companies began in June 2009 by the attorney general's Fair Labor Division. The review stemmed from a complaint filed by a driver that alleged he had been misclassified by Dining-In as an independent contractor.

Company records were then requested and reviewed by investigators. Discussions with a number of meal delivery companies were the initiated regarding proper classification of employees.

Dining-In, Restaurants to You, Dash Deliveries and Mix Menu were found by the review to have misclassified their employees and fully cooperated with the attorney general's office in the review.

The companies will now, as a result of the investigation and under terms of the settlement agreements, classify all drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.

Misclassifying the drivers deprived them of both public and private protections and benefits enjoyed by employees. Because of the misclassification, the drivers could have been left without unemployment insurance and workers' compensation benefits.

Additionally, misclassified workers do not have access to employer-provided health care and may be paid reduced wages or cash as wage payments.

In addition to the settlements, Coakley's office has issued an advisory about the state's Independent contractor Law on the attorney general's Web site.

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