SAN FRANCISCO — A group of workers for San Francisco-based grocery store delivery service Instacart recently filed a proposed class action unpaid overtime lawsuit claiming the defendant intentionally misclassified drivers to avoid paying overtime and other benefits. It is the second such suit in as many years against Instacart, which offers to make online grocery store orders and have the product delivered for a fee.
Instacart’s business practices employ workers on both a part time basis and as independent contractors. Part time workers cannot log more than 30 hours on the job, a move designed to avoid offering health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Independent contractors, on the other hand, can log as many hours as they choose since the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally exempts these workers from overtime and other benefits.
The plaintiffs claim the defendant’s business practices exercise too much control over the workers considered independent contractors as required under the FLSA and the Internal Revenue Service. The claim is similar to others made by ridesharing drivers for Uber and Lyft, both of which are contesting and and settling massive lawsuits with plaintiffs across the country.
In addition to claims over employee misclassification, the plaintiffs further allege that Instacart took steps to eliminate customers giving tips to the drivers, significantly reducing the income of some workers, according to reports. Instead, the defendant instituted a “service charge” the plaintiffs allege put customers under assumption tips were not accepted and the “service charge” would go to the driver.
However, the plaintiffs claim that charge actually goes to the “in store shopper” responsible for purchasing the customer’s order and not to themselves, the “full service shoppers.” The unpaid overtime class action lawsuit alleges the plaintiffs suffered damages in excess of $5 million but does not name a specific dollar amount.
Instacart faced a similar lawsuit in 2015 but that case was dismissed by the court. As other companies like Amazon rely on members of the “gig economy” to transport their products, this type of litigation seems poised to continue.
Delivery Driver Unpaid Overtime Lawsuits
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.