Domino's Pizza delivery drivers certified as a class in lawsuit over tips

Domino's Pizza is involved in a lawsuit with delivery drivers.
Domino's Pizza is involved in a lawsuit with delivery drivers.

A federal judge certified Minnesota Domino's Pizza delivery drivers as a class in a lawsuit over delivery tips yesterday.

The lawsuit, filed by two Domino's delivery drivers, alleges that Domino's violated federal and state law with its pizza delivery policies.

Domino's policies for reimbursing delivery drivers for work expenses violated federal minimum wage laws, the lawsuit alleges, while its policy of keeping "delivery charges" billed to customers violated Minnesota law.

Matt Luiken and Jon Sandquist earned minimum wage for Domino's and were reimbursed for deliveries on a tiered reimbursement system, the lawsuit alleges. Luiken still works for Domino's, while Sandquist worked for the company from September 2006 to March 2008.

Drivers were paid a fixed amount for their first stop and a lesser number for their second, the lawsuit claims. The problem with that, according to the complaint, is that Domino's reimbursements for drivers aren't enough to make up for their expenses, which meant the drivers were making less than minimum wage.

The complaint also alleges that Domino's violated Minnesota law on tips policies.

Under state law, all tips belong to employees, but the lawsuit alleges that Domino's charged a delivery fee of $1-1.50 to customers, who assumed it was going to the driver. In truth, the lawsuit says, delivery drivers saw nothing of the delivery fee.

United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank ruled yesterday that "all persons who worked as Domino's Pizza, LLC, delivery drivers in Minnesota from March 6, 2006, through February 28, 2010," are certified members of the class-action lawsuit.

The judge's order notes that Domino's "began placing a written notice on its twelve and fourteen-inch pizza boxes that stated: 'Any Delivery Charge is not a tip paid to your driver. Please reward your driver for awesomeness'" in December 2009 and added similar language to its website in February 2010.

"Minnesota law is unique, and it provides a very high-level of protection to employees and customers," says Michelle Drake, the attorney handling the lawsuit for the delivery drivers. "Business practices in Minnesota are supposed to be transparent about who gets the money when a service is involved. Domino's was not transparent."

The pizza company declined to comment through vice president of communications Tim McIntyre, who replied in an email: "We're appealing."

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