A former delivery driver is suing operators of Domino’s Pizza restaurants saying she and her peers were underpaid because the company improperly deducted tips, underpaid for driving and did not offer reimbursement for vehicle expenses.
Samantha Young, of Lisle, filed her complaint Oct. 31 in federal court in Chicago, naming as defendants Rolling in the Dough Inc., and Rolling in the Dough II Inc., and their owner and operator, Kenneth Lindeman; JWG Enterprises LLC, and owner-operator John W. Groll III; as well as Domino’s Pizza Inc. and Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC.
Young worked for Domino’s locations run by JWG in Lisle from March to July, then for Rolling in the Dough in Willowbrook. Her complaint said franchise operators owned 93 percent of Domino’s restaurants in 2016, a year the company grossed $10 billion in delivery sales with an average annual profit of $120,000 per store.
She said drivers employed in the past three years are either delivering food to customers or required to work inside the stores building pizza boxes, cleaning, preparing food and taking orders. JWG employees are paid at least $5.75 per hour minus a tip credit whether they work inside the restaurant or make deliveries. Drivers get $1.05 per delivery, but pay their own vehicle expenses. Young said Rolling in the Dough stores pay $6 per hour, but 97 cents per delivery.
Young said JWG drivers average five miles round trip for each delivery and make two or three deliveries per hour, whereas Rolling in the Dough deliveries are six to seven miles per round trip, at roughly two per hour. She also noted drivers are not reimbursed if they use their cellphones for work purposes. Also, Domino’s deducts employee uniform costs from wages. Rolling in the Dough employees also had wages deducted as contributions to the Domino’s Partners Foundation, which allows those restaurants “to offer an employee benefit to all Domino’s employees in times of financial hardship, including on-the-job accidents, medical emergencies, fires or natural disasters, or the death of an immediate family member,” per the complaint. “All Domino’s employees, even those who do not contribute to the Foundation, can apply for benefits.”
While driving for JWG, Young said her effective reimbursement rate was 21 cents a mile, although the federal mileage reimbursement standard is 53.5 cents per mile. If using the federal figure, Young said she should have made $1.625 more per delivery — an extra 32.5 cents multiplied by five average miles — for a total of $4.06 per average hour. Using similar math she said Rolling in the Dough underpaid her by $5.018 per hour, not counting uniform deductions or out-of-pocket vehicle and mobile data expenses.
Young said franchise operators are strictly bound by corporate guidelines set forth in an 800-page store manager manual and are obligated to use a company operating system for tracking employee performance and compensation. She also outlined corporate restructuring policy regarding restaurant layout, as well as a dough manufacturing and supply chain that generated $1.544 billion in revenue for the corporation in fiscal 2016.
The complaint referenced a May 23, 2016, filing by the New York attorney general iterating many of the same wage violations. Young’s complaint invoked the Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois Minimum Wage Law, as well as the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.
In addition to class certification and a jury trial, Young wants the court to force the company to reimburse drivers for unpaid wages and expenses and unlawful deductions, as well as any applicable liquidated damages under the FLSA and statutory damages under state law.
Young’s attorneys, who are also seeking to serve as putative class counsel, are from the Law Office of Michael L. Fradin, in suburban Skokie; and the firm of Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC, of Cincinnati.