Zeeks Pizza, a popular restaurant chain with 19 Western Washington locations, withheld wages, tips and other money owed to delivery drivers, according to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed Monday.
“We allege employees who deliver pizza for Zeeks are being subjected to several forms of wage and hour violations, both at corporate and franchise locations,” said Seattle attorney Toby Marshall, who filed the suit on behalf of Zeeks driver Chance White, in an emailed statement Tuesday.
According to the suit, Zeeks and two franchisees “engaged in a systematic scheme of wage and hour abuses against its pizza drivers,” among them: failing to pay drivers for all hours worked; failing to pay drivers an automatic delivery charge assessed on customers; and failing to pay drivers all their tips and gratuities and reimburse them for mileage.
“I’m only making $14 an hour, so if you take off the [reimbursement], we’re already under minimum wage,” said White, a 27-year-old King County resident who started working at the Kenmore Zeeks in January, in a phone interview Tuesday.
Total monetary damages are to be determined at trial, according to the suit.
The suit comes a month after rival Pagliacci Pizza agreed to a $3.75 million settlement in a class-action suit alleging the company underpaid just over 1,000 former and current drivers.
The Zeeks lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, names as defendants Zeeks Pizza and owners Thomas Vial, Douglas McLure and Daniel Black, as well as the Northstar Pizza Company and Monica Pavelka and Chris Flanders, who are listed in the suit as owners of two Zeeks franchises.
Attempts to reach Zeeks owners or corporate offices in Seattle or Pavelka and Flanders for comment were not successful.
The suit is filed on behalf of a proposed class of more 100 people that includes “all individuals who are or have been employed as delivery drivers at any Zeeks Pizza restaurant in the State of Washington from May 24, 2018 through the date of final disposition of this action,” according to the suit.
One of the biggest issues for drivers has been the company’s failure to reimburse mileage or give drivers the customer delivery surcharge, said White. Drivers can easily cover 50 to 100 miles during a busy shift, which at a minimum should be reimbursed at the federal rate of 56 cents a mile, White said.
White said he had occasionally delivered pizzas on his way home after his shift ended and was asked to pick up office supplies and marketing materials at another Zeeks location. He said he has been told by co-workers that some Zeeks locations do reimburse their drivers.
Marshall, whose firm also represented plaintiffs in the Pagliacci suit, said claims in the Zeeks suit are “very similar to the claims brought in the lawsuit against Pagliacci.”
Zeeks opened in 1993 at the north end of Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood and became popular for its novelty pizzas and fresh ingredients. According to its website, the company has 19 Washington locations that run from Bellingham to Tacoma, and also has franchises in Oregon and Idaho.