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Jimmy John’s sued for tip money

Class action proposed in state court

By: Bennett Loudon//June 7, 2018

Jimmy John’s sued for tip money

Class action proposed in state court

By: Bennett Loudon//June 7, 2018//

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Delivery drivers for the Jimmy John’s restaurant chain have filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status over delivery charges.

The 19-page complaint was filed Monday in state Supreme Court by attorneys at Thomas & Solomon LLP on behalf of three named plaintiffs who live in Monroe County “and all other employees similarly situated.”

Plaintiff Selena Thompson was a delivery driver at three Rochester-area Jimmy John’s locations from late January 2016 until April 2017. The second plaintiff, Jon M. Stewart, delivered for a Rochester Jimmy John’s location from July 2013 through July 2014.

The third named plaintiff, Christine Ost, worked from July 2012 through July 2014 as a bicycle delivery driver for a Jimmy John’s store in Syracuse. She was a bike delivery driver for Jimmy John’s in Boston from December 2014 through February 2017.

According to the complaint that could potentially affect 50 Jimmy John’s stores in four states, including New York and Massachusetts, the company “illegally retained mandatory delivery charges, collected from customers in violation of New York and Massachusetts law.”

Under New York law, an employer is not allowed to “demand or accept, directly or indirectly, any part of the gratuities received by an employee, or retain any part of a gratuity or any charge purported to be a gratuity for an employee.”

Under Massachusetts law, if a customer gets a bill that imposes a service charge or a tip, the total proceeds of the service charge or tip must go to the employees.

Jimmy John’s does not routinely tell customers that the employees don’t get any of the delivery charge, according to the suit.

“Defendant’s customers can reasonably believe that the service charge for delivery is a gratuity paid to defendant’s delivery drivers and that they therefore do not have to tip the drivers,” according to the complaint.

As a result, the employees are owed the delivery fees charged to customers, according to the complaint.

The proposed class of defendants includes Jimmy John’s delivery drivers in New York state for the past six years and drivers in Massachusetts for the past three years.

Jimmy John’s media officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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