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An employment lawsuit over wages against Domino's Pizza has been granted class action status by a judge in the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota. The lawsuit, originally brought by two drivers in Minnesota, claims that Domino's under-reimbursed its delivery drivers for automobile expenses, causing them to receive less than minimum wage. Dominos is a Michigan based corporation.
The plaintiffs claimed that in effect, the employees were required to subsidize the Domino's business by paying for their own automobile and gas expenses. According to a report by News Blaze, Minnesota law forbids employers from requiring employees to pay these kinds of expenses. Further, the plaintiffs claim that since drivers were only paid minimum wage, the amount they actually took home was less than the required wage since they paid their travel expenses out of pocket.
The class action order was handed down by Judge Donovan Frank. The class of plaintiffs can now include all Domino's delivery drivers who worked in any state, except New York and California, from March 4, 2006, to the present. Over 20,000 drivers could be included in the class.
According to Bloomberg, defendant Domino's opposed the class certification. In their court papers, they argued the situation of each driver is different, so the case should not be designated class-action. Domino's spokesman Tim McIntyre told Bloomberg in an e-mail Wednesday, June 30, that the reimbursement for automobile expenses is separate from compensation, and is communicated to all drivers that way.
Under Minnesota law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, all employees are entitled to be paid the minimum wage "free and clear" of obligations to their employer. Whether requiring employees to pay out of pocket for travel expenses pushed their wage below the legally required amount or not will be an issue for the court to decide.