A common tactic that is utilized by a number of unscrupulous businesses around the country is to try to find ways to get workers to perform services without proper payment. When this happens, the business responsible can face serious consequences including fines and additional government oversight.
A delivery company is being sued in the District Court of New Orleans over allegations that it paid workers in Louisiana less than state minimum wage and violated other labor laws.
Food delivery company is only paying about two dollars an hour
The main plaintiff in the lawsuit works for a company called “Waitr” that operates in various counties and cities in Louisiana. The claims in the case are related to unpaid minimum wages, overtime pay damages, and attorney’s fees and legal costs. The lawsuit also asks for the government to issue an injunction under the Fair Labor Standards Act to stop certain illegal practices.
Some of the evidence included in the filings include an average week where the plaintiff worked just over 28 hours and drove 279 miles for deliveries. Her earnings over that period averaged out to about $1.97 an hour, which is well below what is required by state and federal minimum wage laws. A similar lawsuit filed a month earlier was related to workers who received less than Louisiana’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The Fair Labor Standards Act allows all of these claims to be considered jointly as one action for efficiency.
The local news attempted to contact Waitr for comment, but they did not receive any response. The company was started in Lake Charles back in 2013, and quickly expanded to Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and various other markets. A billionaire investor purchased the company in 2018 for about $300 million, and began an aggressive move to expand their online and mobile phone operations.
Gig based jobs and lack of labor protections
Since the advent of the gig economy where workers get paid by individual tasks and do not have a steady wage, many employers have tried to classify workers as independent contracts to avoid paying them steady wages or benefits, even if they are working full time hours. For drivers who work for transportation and food delivery businesses, their earnings may be even much less than they realize at times due to additional expenses such as gas and car repairs.
Violations of labor laws
Any employer who essentially tries to avoid making payments or underpaying employees can be sued in either federal or local court depending on the situation. It is illegal to violate laws such as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act mentioned in the lawsuit and various other wage regulations. Attorneys who handle lawsuits against businesses can explain more about how these laws work and determine if your employer has done anything illegal after a brief conversation.
Get help from local attorneys who practice in Baton Rouge
There are some firms in Louisiana who focus their practice on helping employees who have been treated unfairly. Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf are available to speak with you about filing a lawsuit, unpaid wage claim, or taking other actions against the business responsible.