Colonel’s Limited, LLC – which operates approximately 63 Papa John’s pizza restaurants in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia – is on the receiving end of a proposed class and collective action that alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The plaintiff in the case is a former delivery driver who claims the defendant’s illegal practice of underpaying drivers’ vehicle expenses causes their pay to fall below minimum wage. According to the suit, Colonel’s Limited reimbursement rate for the plaintiff was about $.25 per mile, while the IRS business mileage reimbursement rate fell between $.56 and $.575 per mile. From the complaint:
“Instead of reimbursing [delivery drivers] for the reasonably approximate costs of the business use of their vehicles, Defendant uses a flawed method to determine reimbursement rates that provides such an unreasonably low rate beneath any reasonable approximation of the expenses they incur that the drivers’ unreimbursed expenses cause their wages to fall below the minimum wages.”
The suit estimates that the plaintiff’s wages, after accounting for unpaid vehicle expenses, equaled about $4.69 per hour while he worked in Virginia and $7.94 per hour while he worked in the District of Columbia. He argues that he was compensated well below the minimum wages in each state as a result of the defendant’s illegal pay practices.