PHILADELPHIA — Utz Quality Foods Inc. recently agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit brought by over 1,000 current and former delivery drivers for the company claiming the defendant intentionally misclassified them to avoid paying overtime. Utz admits no liability or fault by agreeing to the settlement and will not be required to change current business practices, though the company may need to fulfil the latter to avoid future lawsuits by other drivers looking to recover lost wages.
Originally filed in September of 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the overtime pay lawsuit alleged Utz intentionally and improperly misclassified deliver drivers as “outside salespersons” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While the law creates minimum wage and overtime thresholds for almost all workers, the act does carve out certain exceptions for limited professions.
Overtime Lawsuit Challenges Traditional Exemptions for Delivery Drivers
Traditionally, outside salespersons operated like door to door salesmen, operating away from the company’s places of business. However, many companies like Utz interpreted the language of the FLSA to read that since drivers take sales orders from businesses like gas stations and other convenience stores, these duties satisfy the act’s requirements.
Under the exemption, drivers whose primary duty is sales may qualify for overtime exemption and be paid a flat salary. Although the practice may have once suited the industry, many companies continue to claim that their delivery drivers act as sales agents when in fact these “sales” are just taking orders from customers while making a delivery.
An estimated 1,800 current and former drivers employed by Utz over the past three years are eligible to draw compensation from the settlement, reached with the assistance of an independent mediator. However, the actual number of payouts could vary depending on whether or not eligible class members opt out of the settlement and chose to bring their own claims.
Delivery Driver Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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.