Almost a dozen LaRosa’s locations recently agreed to settle a wage dispute lawsuit with current and former delivery drivers for $900,000.
Almost twelve LaRosa’a franchises recently agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit with about 500 current and former delivery drivers. The suit was originally filed over allegations that the delivery drivers “were not being paid enough and were not fully reimbursed for their expenses.” The 11 franchise locations in the suit included ones in Loveland, Mason, West Chester, and Northern Kentucky.
Preliminary approval of the $900,000 settlement was granted by a federal judge in Cincinnati earlier this month. The judge, U.S. District Judge Matthew McFarland, scheduled a hearing for June 21 to finalize the settlement.
When commenting on the matter, Phil Krzeski, the attorney representing the drivers, said:
“I think it’s a great result for a number of drivers in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky…We hope this money makes a big difference for a lot of people.”
Pete Buscani, a spokesperson for LaRosa’s, chimed in and said “the case involved a franchise owner, and he didn’t know the details.” He added, “many times cases will settle for many reasons, including the costs and hassle of litigation.”
What happened, though? What prompted the suit to be filed in the first place? According to the lawsuit, the “franchises didn’t pay delivery drivers enough for the expenses they incurred using their own vehicles.” The suit further alleged that, instead of reimbursing drivers “for their actual vehicle expenses, drivers were reimbursed based on a percentage of the price of each order, between 6.5 and 7.5 percent.” At the end of the day, drivers were only being paid $.38 cents per mile, way less than the “IRS standard business mileage rate, which last year was 57.5 cents per mile.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit noted “it is undisputed that food delivery companies must pay minimum wage workers for expenses incurred when they use their own vehicles.” It went on to said that drivers, many of whom were making an hourly wage far below the minimum wage because they received tips, “were performing work, like folding pizza boxes and cleaning, that required them to be paid a higher wage during those times.”
This latest lawsuit isn’t an isolated incident. In fact, there are nearly 40 other lawsuits filled with similar allegations that have been filed against LaRosa’s franchises, Papa Johns, Domino’s, and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in many other states. One of those lawsuits was filed against LaRosa’s Inc. However, that case was dismissed back in December on the grounds that it “had no merit.”