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Lawsuit Alleges Delivery Dudes Paid Drivers as Little as 50 Cents Per Delivery

A lawsuit filed against Delray Beach-based Delivery Dudes last week in federal court claims the service is paying its drivers sometimes as little as 50 to 75 cents per delivery while requiring them to work between 50 or 60 hours per week.

"In order to avoid paying minimum wages and overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) defendants require the drivers to execute independent contractor agreements and therefore claim that they are not employees," court documents says.

This isn't the first time Delivery Dudes has been hit with a suit alleging the company failed to pay its employees properly, even though the company, like many other smartphone-based service apps all over the country, classifies its legions of workers as independent contractors not eligible for FLSA protections. The matter recently came to a head in California where Uber drivers successfully argued they were full-time employees of the ride-sharing service that had them working as independent contractors. In late 2016, a Florida Delivery Dudes driver named Spencer Amadon filed suit against the company under similar circumstances demanding $1 million in compensation. The matter was settled out of court in June for an undisclosed sum.

A Delivery Dudes representative did not return calls and emails seeking comment. Attorneys who've represented the company in previous matters declined to comment, and the company has yet to hire an attorney in this latest suit.

[pdf-1] According to the complaint, Delivery Dudes has 40 locations spanning Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, Oregon, and Pennsylvania with more than 2,000 workers managed by either franchises or company-owned operations.

The suit claims workers are required to attend unpaid training sessions, aren't compensated for travel, are "lent" delivery bags, and are required to hand out promotional materials. All of the above, according to attorney Michael Davey who's representing the plaintiff in this case, Dylan Kaplan, indicate that workers are employees and should receive FLSA protections as such.

"They control him to a level where he's clearly not an independent contractor," Davey says. "He should be paid the $2.13 or $5.03 the law requires."

Meanwhile, Delivery Dudes and founder Jayson Koss have been struggling for some time to toe the line on how to handle their legion of drivers. In 2016, Koss told the Sun Sentinel that he had brought on internal and external lawyers to help navigate the issue, but would like to see clearer regulations. At the same time, the company is focused on setting up new outposts on its own as opposed to franchising. However it shakes out, you might now have reason to think twice before tipping your delivery driver a buck or nothing at all.

Zachary Fagenson is the restaurant critic for Miami New Times, and proud to report a cholesterol level of 172.