Can a delivery driver recover his car expenses from the company that hires him? The answer may be yes according to several class action lawsuits filed against restaurant chains. One class action lawsuit filed in 2016 against Papa John’s claims that its stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware only paid drivers $1 an hour extra for automobile costs. According to that lawsuit, the practice resulted in drivers losing money each hour they made deliveries based on their out-of-pocket car expenses.
On February 12, 2019, three former Papa John’s drivers filed another class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. In that lawsuit, they claim that Papa John’s only paid a “per delivery” flat fee rather than the IRS mileage reimbursement rate for their automobile expenses. According to that lawsuit, the practice caused drivers’ earnings to drop below the minimum wages required under Kentucky, Colorado, and Missouri law.
While the courts have yet to decide these lawsuits, restaurants employing delivery drivers should consider compensating them for each mile driven – rather than a flat or hourly rate – to avoid similar claims.