GrubHub Holdings Inc. and GrubHub Inc. are staring down a proposed collective and class action over their alleged misclassification of delivery drivers as independent contractors. The lawsuit, filed in Illinois federal court, claims the misclassification of drivers is to blame for unpaid minimum and overtime wages owed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois Minimum Wage Law.
One plaintiff worked for GrubHub from July 2016 through March 2017, while the other continues to drive for the company, the lawsuit says. The plaintiffs argue GrubHub delivery drivers are actually employees under state law given that the company directs the workers in:
Where to report for shifts;
How to dress; and
Where to go to pick up or await deliveries.
According to the suit, GrubHub drivers typically work scheduled shifts and, while on the clock, are required to stay within assigned areas and remain available to accept delivery assignments. Moreover, the lawsuit says that drivers who do not follow GrubHub dispatchers’ instructions will lose out on job assignments or have their shifts canceled entirely, as well as risk outright termination. Further indicating an employer-employee relationship between GrubHub and its drivers, the lawsuit states:
“Drivers are required to accept job assignments during their shifts. If a driver’s job acceptance rate falls below what GrubHub deems acceptable, GrubHub may terminate the driver or not pay them a guaranteed hourly rate. Frequently drivers receive multiple job assignments at the same time and so cannot always accept all of them. However, in order to avoid being terminated, they must accept as many assignments as possible.”
Rather than hourly wages, GrubHub drivers are in most cases paid a flat fee for each completed delivery plus tips without reimbursement for fuel and vehicle/bicycle maintenance costs, the case states.
“Because drivers are paid by the delivery (though they sometimes receive an hourly rate of pay), and have been required to pay expenses necessary to do their job, their weekly pay rates have fallen below federal or state minimum wage in many weeks,” the plaintiffs allege.
The case points out that the two named plaintiffs previously opted into a related lawsuit—Souran v. GrubHub Holdings Inc. et al.—containing virtually identical allegations. Both plaintiffs withdrew their opt-ins and filed the lawsuit detailed on this page on behalf of numerous GrubHub drivers who tried to opt into the previous case yet missed the deadline to do so.