Waitr faces multiple lawsuits for allegedly underpaying drivers

Waitr faces multiple lawsuits for allegedly underpaying drivers

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It’s been about a month since two lawsuits have been filed against the food delivery service, Waitr.

The two drivers, Jualeia Halley and Heather Gongaware, are a part of a much larger group of over 100 drivers claiming they weren’t properly paid by Waitr, according to their attorney Carter Hastings.

“A driver on one delivery may drive 20 miles just to pick up the food and deliver it. The way you look at that is a ‘kickback.' When you take what they’re spending on gas and the wear and tear on their vehicle, sometimes those costs can overtake what they’re earning in tips and hourly wages; or at least, to a very low level where they’re hardly making anything per hour," Hastings said.

According to the lawsuit filed, Halley estimates she drove 469 miles every week, but said Waitr underpaid her by about $250 per week. Gongaware said she believes she drove about 500 miles per week and said she was being underpaid by $275 each week.

“We just don’t think that the formula for the employees and the independent contractors compensates for minimum wage and in some cases overtime," Austin Anderson, a partner in the firm representing the drivers, said.

Anderson said he just wants to help his clients and get them compensated.

“There are numerous costs associated with carrying the lack of payment, right? Whether it be interest, whether it be missed payments on a vehicle, losing a house, losing an apartment, and I’m not saying—just to be clear—that that happened with any of our drivers in this case, but the purpose of liquidated damages is to try to compensate someone who wasn’t properly paid," Anderson said.

KPLC reached out to Waitr for a comment and this was their response:

Our drivers are on the front lines for us every day and they are a vital part of our success. We are committed to providing a positive work experience centered on respect and fair treatment. Waitr Holdings has built its business on employing W-2 drivers, unlike other delivery service providers that only use contractors, offering them all the benefits that come with an employee relationship. Our drivers keep 100% of their tips and our compensation practices comply with all applicable laws and regulations and are in line with standards in the service industry.

Anderson said because the case is still very fresh, the timeline remains unclear.

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