Justin Oakley worked for Domino’s for two years, driving a semi truck to fulfill Domino’s stores’ supply orders. At the start of each workday, he’d arrive at a Supply Chain Center in Kent, Ohio, then he’d drive his route, taking orders to Domino’s stores in up to five different states, eventually returning to the Supply Chain Center. Oakley believes that, despite his hard work, Domino’s paid him unfairly, resulting in violations of the Washington Minimum Wage Act and more. Eventually, he got in contact with a lawyer, and decided to do something about it.
Oakley’s lawyers wanted to file a class action lawsuit on Oakley’s behalf. Unfortunately, though, Oakley had signed an agreement with Domino’s that would limit him to arbitration, an alternative method of resolving disputes without a courtroom. Arbitration agreements, like the one Oakley signed, can sometimes improve efficiency, but they don’t always produce the results that wronged employees, like Oakley, need. Oakley’s lawyers didn’t want to be bound by the arbitration agreement, so they needed to prepare an argument that would allow them to circumvent it. They found that there was a similar case, New Prime, Inc. v. Oliveria, in 2018. There, the Supreme Court found that a driver was not bound to comply with an arbitration agreement because those agreements did not apply to employees engaged in interstate commerce. “Interstate commerce” could mean any situation in which a product in a single business’s supply chain crosses state lines, regardless of whether the employee themself actually crosses state lines.
Oakley claimed that the type of employment he was engaged in was interstate commerce, which disqualified him from being baked into the arbitration agreement that he’d signed. His reasoning was that the dough he transported was a part of a large, interstate supply chain controlled by Domino’s. That argument worked. The court cooked up an opinion declaring that Oakley didn’t have to abide by the terms of the arbitration agreement.
Is this news Good and Good for you? Absolutely. This recent opinion from Oakley’s case means that Domino’s employees that transport ingredients as a part of the Domino’s supply chain are now able to file class action lawsuits against the company!
The court delivered this opinion in August 2022, to the benefit of Oakley and other mistreated drivers. We’re hopeful that this will make it easier for drivers to make sure they get the pay they deserve.
Written by Cecil Mattson, 2L of Texas A&M School of Law
Forester Haynie takes minimum wage and FLSA violations very seriously. These violations happen because limitations within the law allow some employers to pay their employees below the federal minimum wage. Forester Haynie’s attorneys are dedicated to making sure that people are being lawfully compensated for their labor. More than $10 million have been recovered for current and former delivery drivers across the nation. Case settlements often take time, so you will have to be patient with us while we fight for you. Forester Haynie does not charge our clients any up front fees or case costs. Unlike many firms, we only get paid when you do.
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