Restaurant Express Delivery, LLC – which does business as Five Star Food Express – and three individuals with control of the Michigan-based business are staring down a proposed class and collective action that accuses the defendants of failing to pay their dispatchers lawful minimum and overtime wages.
The plaintiff, who worked for the defendants in Colorado, was employed as a dispatcher and performed duties such as taking food delivery orders through the defendants’ website or call center, sending the orders to restaurants, dispatching delivery drivers, assuring orders are delivered and providing customer service. Throughout her employment period – which began in January 2017 and ended in March 2018 – the plaintiff alleges she was paid an hourly rate that varied between $6.00 and $7.50 per hour.
“During some workweeks, Defendants paid the Plaintiff and others similarly situated at hourly rates below the hourly minimum wage rate required by Michigan and federal minimum wage laws,” the lawsuit alleges. The plaintiff further claims that she was paid at her regular rate for all hours worked, including those worked over 40 per week, depriving her of legally required time-and-a-half overtime pay.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants wrongfully classified the plaintiff as an independent contractor rather than an employee to avoid having to comply with the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. From the complaint:
“Upon information and belief, the Defendants ran their entire restaurant delivery business across six states without acknowledging a single dispatcher or driver as an ‘employee.’”
The case argues that the plaintiff and other dispatchers were “individuals working within Defendants’ business” and were not independent business owners who contracted with the company. As such, the case argues that the defendants should have classified the workers as employees and paid them the full minimum and overtime wages to which they were entitled under federal and state law.