“Better Ingredients, Better Pay?” – Courts to Consider Legality of Papa John’s Reimbursement Policy for Delivery Drivers

Executive Summary: Employers in the restaurant industry have seen an increasing trend of litigation over reimbursement policies for delivery drivers. For example, on February 12, 2019, three former delivery drivers for Papa John’s filed a putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky alleging Papa John’s failed to adequately reimburse its delivery drivers for “vehicular wear and tear, gas and other driving-related expenses.” In Hubbard et al. v. Papa John’s International, Inc., the plaintiffs allege Papa John’s reimbursement policy, which paid a flat fee “per delivery” (rather than the IRS mileage reimbursement rate), resulted in drivers earning less than the minimum wage mandated under Kentucky, Colorado, and Missouri law. Two plaintiffs in this case are also class members in a New York federal class and collective action, Durling et al. v. Papa John’s International, Inc., which alleges, among other claims, similar violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware law. That case is currently pending. Continue reading

“Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act” Increases Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour (And Penalties for Non-Compliance)

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act into law on February 19, 2019. The Act gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next six years. Illinois is now the fifth state (after California, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts) to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. While the Act is receiving a lot of press for the minimum wage increase, it makes other changes to Illinois law about which Illinois employers must also be aware. Continue reading

U.S. Department of Labor’s New Guidance, Compliance Tool, and Leadership

Adams, Julie 300dpi
Julie Adams

February has been a busy month for the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”).  The Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) published new guidance addressing tipped employees and payment of subminimum wages and released a new compliance tool.  The DOL also named a new Acting Wage and Hour Administrator.  Employers should review these new publications and developments for applicability to their workforce: Continue reading

Are Religious Organizations Subject to the Laws of Man?

Douglas, Jeff - 300dpi
Jeffrey Douglas

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the existence and applicability of the ministerial exception in employment discrimination cases. See Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. EEOC, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).  After conducting an exhaustive analysis of the history of separation of church and state including its origin in the first sentence of the Magna Carta, its merger during the reign of King Henry VIII, and its re-separation during the founding of this country, the Court concluded that the ministerial exemption is a critical safeguard against governmental interference in religious matters. Continue reading

After the Scare: Sixth Circuit says Insurance Agents Are Still Independent Contractors

Close, Grant - 300dpi
Grant Close

Last week, many insurance carriers breathed a sigh of relief when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that more than 700 American Family Life Insurance agents were properly classified as independent contractors, not employees.  The case is Jammal v. American Family Life Insurance Company, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 2905.  Continue reading