Legal Newsline

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Papa John's has a policy of paying less than minimum wage, drivers say in lawsuit


By Karen Kidd | Feb 26, 2019


PADUCAH, Ky. (Legal Newsline) – Three former delivery drivers for a pizza chain filed a putative class action earlier this month claiming they were so poorly paid for using their vehicles for deliveries that they ended up making less than minimum wage.

Lead plaintiffs Amanda Hubbard of Oak Grove, Kentucky; Aaron Nelson of Denver; and Joshua Boyland of Festus, Missouri filed suit Feb. 12 against Papa John's International U.S. District Court for Kentucky's Western District, Paducah Division.

"This action seeks to redress Papa John's International's systematic policy and practice of paying its delivery drivers net hourly wages that are well below the minimum wage mandated by Kentucky's wage and hour law, the Colorado Minimum Wage of Workers Act and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law," the 22-page complaint said.

Kentucky, Colorado and Missouri minimum wage law requires employers provide workers "sufficient reimbursements" that equal or exceed minimum wage but Papa John's "systematically under-reimbursed its delivery drivers," the complaint said.

When allowing for "vehicular wear and tear, gas and other driving-related expenses," Papa John's delivery drivers "are effectively paid below the minimum wage," the complaint said.

"During a typical 10-hour shift, delivery drivers spend about six to seven hours 'on the road' making deliveries," the complaint states. "Throughout the relevant period, Papa John's International required its delivery drivers to maintain and provide a safe, functioning, insured and legally-operable automobile to make deliveries."

Papa John's delivery driver reimbursement also fall well below the Internal Revenue Service's standard mileage reimbursement rate, which this year is 58 cents, according to the lawsuit.  

"Indeed, Papa John's International's own documents reflect that, as of approximately April 21, 2017, drivers at Papa John's per delivery stores are reimbursed an average of approximately $1.20 per delivery, which equates to 24 cents per mile (with corporate-owned stores and franchisee-owned stores both reimbursing the drivers at an effective rate of 24 cents per mile)," the complaint said. "These reimbursement amounts are less than half of the IRS rate and are far too low to reasonably reimburse any drivers for their actual expenses."

The case, filed under case number 5:19-cv-00022, is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Thomas B. Russell.

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Organizations in this Story

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky Paducah DivisionPapa John's International